Synesthesia and Art: A Sensory Bridge

A Symphony of Senses: How Synesthesia Shapes the Canvas and Elevates Artistic Perception

La sinestesia è una straordinaria fusione di sensi, una danza neurologica che unisce esperienze sensoriali diverse in un’unica percezione. Questo fenomeno, lungi dall’essere solo un curioso miscuglio di sensazioni, ha influenzato profondamente il mondo dell’arte, soprattutto nell’ambito della pittura.

Definition and Types:

Before delving into the connections between synesthesia and painting, it’s useful to understand the various forms of this phenomenon. One of the most well-known forms is grapheme-color synesthesia, in which letters or numbers are perceived in specific colors. However, there are many other variants: some people can “see” sounds, others “taste” flavors when touching certain objects, or associate specific shapes with certain tactile sensations.

Synesthesia in the History of Art:

Several artists throughout history have been synesthetes, and this has deeply influenced their work. Wassily Kandinsky, for example, saw colors when he listened to music and sought to represent this experience in his abstract paintings. He believed that there were natural correspondences between colors and musical tones, and his canvases often aimed to capture the essence of a musical piece.

Painting as a Multisensory Experience:

Even if not all artists are synesthetes, many works of art can evoke synesthetic sensations in viewers. A vibrant painting with aggressive brushstrokes and contrasting colors might “sound” loud or “feel” rough to some, while a peaceful and harmonious scene might “feel” like a sweet and light melody. This suggests that painting, like music, has the power to communicate directly with our limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for emotions.

Synesthesia and Artistic Interpretation:

Synesthesia offers a unique lens through which to interpret art. When a synesthete looks at a painting, their multisensory reactions can provide a deep and personal understanding of the work. But even those who are not synesthetes can learn to “listen” to paintings, to “feel” textures, and to “taste” colors, thereby enriching their own aesthetic experience.


The relationship between synesthesia and painting reminds us how interconnected our senses are and how this interconnection can enrich our perception of art. Each painting has a voice, a melody, and a texture to offer; it is up to us to tune into these frequencies and let them guide us on a multisensory journey.

Marco Mattiuzzi

By Marco Mattiuzzi

A multifaceted artist, former teacher and communicator, he has dedicated years to art and communication. He taught classical guitar, exhibited photos and wrote in magazines. In the book sector, he promoted photography and art through HF Distribuzione, a company specialized in mail-order sales. He currently owns CYBERSPAZIO WEB & STREAMING HOSTING. In 2018, he created the Facebook group "Art Pills" with over 65,000 members and manages CYBERSPAZIO WEB RADIO dedicated to classical music. He collaborates with several cultural organizations in Vercelli, including Amici dei Musei and Artes Liberales.
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