The Eccentricity Effect: Does knowledge of an artist’s life affect how we perceive their work?

When we see Van Gogh’s work, we often look for signs of his tortured mind. But how much should we let the personality of the artist affect our reading of their work? A 2014 study found that we tend to like art more if we perceive the artist as unconventional – the ‘eccentricity effect’.

This talk looks at works by particularly ‘eccentric’ artists and those on the other side of the coin, who had more ‘conservative’ personalities and day jobs. It examines the idea that ‘an artist is only ever as good as his or her backstory’.