some examples of american impressionism, how much solitude do you need, faces and personal judgement

an arrangement by alfred maurer, 1901. oil on cardboard.

celia thaxter in her garden by childe hassam, 1892. oil on canvas.

street scene with snow (57th Street, NYC) 1902, by robert henri.

the sketchers by john singer sargent, 1914. oil on canvas.

young woman trying on a dress by mary cassat, around 1890. drypoint and acquatint on paper. one of cassat’s painting that clearly show a Japanese influence.

American Impressionism started after the Civil War and would last up until WW I. That is not to say the last American or European impressionist painting was done, only that other schools or trends in painting begin to emerge and dominate. A very brief introduction to American Impressionism at the Metropolitan.

eureka tree wallpaper

Solitude is enlightening but if it does not lead us back to society, it can become a spiritual dead end

For many of us, solitude is tempting because it is ‘the place of purification’, as the Israeli philosopher Martin Buber called it. Our aspiration for travelling to that place might be the simple pleasure of being away, unburdened by the pettiness and corruption of the day-to-day round. For me, being alone is about staying sane in a noisy and cluttered world – I have what the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould called a ‘high solitude quotient’ — but it is also a way of opening out a creative space, to give myself a chance to be quiet enough to see or hear what happens next.

Various sects of monks from Catholic to Buddhists would probably disagree about solitude being a spiritual dead-end. Some secular loners would also likely disagree. The need for it seems to vary as much as the personal psychological. On the other extreme, some people cannot bear to be alone with their thoughts, without the company of others. Even what solitude is seems to have  many different meanings depending on the person – as the commenters at the link show.

This is from a scientific study about faces, how we respond to them and pass judgment. Perspective Distortion from Interpersonal Distance Is an Implicit Visual Cue for Social Judgments of Faces

The basis on which people make social judgments from the image of a face remains an important open problem in fields ranging from psychology to neuroscience and economics. Multiple cues from facial appearance influence the judgments that viewers make. Here we investigate the contribution of a novel cue: the change in appearance due to the perspective distortion that results from viewing distance. We found that photographs of faces taken from within personal space elicit lower investments in an economic trust game, and lower ratings of social traits (such as trustworthiness, competence, and attractiveness), compared to photographs taken from a greater distance.

[  ]…Ever since Edward Hall’s seminal book on the topic [10], interpersonal distance and personal space have been highlighted as ubiquitous and potent determinants of a wide variety of social behaviors [11]. Notably, interpersonal distance is associated with arousal [12], self-protective behavior [13], privacy [14], emotional valence [15], [16], management of stress and aggression [17], and interpersonal trust [18]. In each of these studies, interpersonal distance is manipulated in an ecologically valid way, that is, participants are observed reacting to a confederate standing at an experimentally determined distance. The result is that the observed changes may result from any or all of the many multi-modal perceptions that accompany a change in interpersonal distance. For example, the size of the face is smaller and the visibility of the body is greater at greater distances. These studies demonstrate the efficacy of interpersonal distance at eliciting a variety of emotional responses relevant to social judgments, but they do not yet isolate the specific perceptual cues that are responsible.

Judging socially relevant traits from faces can occur automatically and can elicit reliable ratings even after a very brief exposure [19], [1], suggesting there are processes specialized for rapid social evaluation. Interpersonal distance is a potent variable influencing social behavior [10], [11], [20], and is related to activity in several brain structures notably including the amygdala: damage to the amygdala can abolish normal interpersonal distancing behaviorally, and even the knowledge of interpersonal closeness is sufficient to drive activation of this brain structure [21].


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