Focal cerebral lesions and painting abilities

Anna Mazzucchi, Elena Sinforiani, François Boller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focal lesions such as strokes significantly affect painting production in the vast majority of artists. In particular, painters, when they resume painting, show changes in their painting style. In exceptional cases, there may be an apparent improvement in style, but in most cases, the changes represent nothing short of deterioration. This, however, varies according to the hemisphere affected. Painters with left-hemisphere lesions tend to show an inability to deal adequately with perspective and also tend to use simplified colors with fewer nuances. One often witnesses an evolution toward simpler, often "naïve" techniques, and at times rigid geometric repetitive features. Painters with right-hemisphere lesions also become unable to represent tridimensionality. In addition, their figures are often drawn in very summary fashion, with lack of coordination between volumes and space and a chromatic impoverishment; their main problem, however, is visuospatial, leading to neglect of the left side of the canvas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-98
Number of pages28
JournalProgress in Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Artistic production
  • Deterioration of creativity
  • Focal cerebral lesions
  • Hemispheric specialization
  • Modification of artistic style
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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