The psychology of art is a discipline that deals with investigating and explain the psychological processes involved in production experience and a work of art fruition. Given its inherently multi and interdisciplinary nature, it is difficult to delimit a priori relevant areas and define the theoretical and methodological status. Multiple and variable (according to the interests and perspectives) are its border territories: from aesthetics to the history, theory and criticism of art, from literature to medicine and psychiatry through anthropology, sociology, pedagogy and semiotics to not to mention the different pronunciations and interpretations related to the field historian, theorist and specification of the universe itself of psychology and its various addresses. Regarding more specifically relations with art (especially visual) are particularly important studies of Gestalt psychology and the theory of perception, often mediated by cognitivist perspectives, and those which refer to the different psychoanalytic schools, which have made important contributions also part of criticism and literary theory. Field of analysis of the psychology of art is above all the visual arts, but no less important are the studies and researches in literature, as well as in the music, film, photography, theater etc … The goal of the psychology of art is try to identify and understand what mental processes are involved in artistic production, which factors determine the poetic and the peculiarities of an artist, but also as psychological processes characterize the enjoyment, appreciation or no aesthetic appreciation, and feelings of empathy or sympathy . Since its origins psychoanalysis investigates the unconscious meanings of which the work is the bearer of meanings, which can go beyond the author’s intentions.
Essential contributions to the psychology of art were provided by Gestalt psychology, which considers the work of art primarily from a perceptual point of view (think especially in the work of this research is often intertwined with a cognitivist perspective. the school of Gestalt, developed between 1910 and 1930, first in Germany and then the United States, proposes to consider the work of art in its totality, conceiving the artistic dimension as a knowledge of the world mode. This point view is based on the characteristics of the work itself: it is considered the pregnancy or good shape, thanks to those features that make it balanced and harmonious, all because the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Finally, with the last organizational principle, it seeks to explain the empathy felt by the user of the artistic product in respect of the same and the intentions of its author, through the relationship between the perception of stimuli and physiological activity of the brain. Gestalt argues that perceptions are the product of the material derived from the senses, which is then organized through mechanisms and patterns of thought innate in man. Moreover, the perceptions are considered immediate and not produced by the current feeling. extent to which the latter provisions have to do with the actual experience. The perception by the subject had to be regarded as complex; the shape, which is something global, it is dynamic and is the result of the individual parts, which take on particular value and significance precisely because of the form itself. The founders of this current are generally considered Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka and Max Wertheimer, whose research in psychology were addressed especially to reasoning ability and perception. A key point was identified in the discrepancy between what is – physical reality – and what is perceived – phenomenal reality; to fail is a direct correspondence between these two dimensions, due to the great activity of the subject to the object.