The title of this Post is from p. 95 of The Age of Insight: the Quest to understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present, by Eric R. Kandel. NY, Random House, 2012.
When atomic scientists are lecturing on the results of their work at the Gizeh pyramids, or when neuroscientists are writing about ancient art, the humanities types should pay close attention. At the end of this little essay, I'll say why.
Of course, I am always shocked to see a scientist make a booboo as bad as any art historian or classicist could make about science. It was drilled into my head when I was young (and at Berkeley, just downhill from the Rad Lab--but, no, I am not related to Ernest Lawrence), that scientists would regard us art historians as bubble heads if we were not reasonably empirical and conscientiously exact. They always were confusing us with museum docents! But Gombrich seemed unaware that we had considered the importance of conceptual and visual / optical / illusionistic art, intellectually considered, long before his admirable book appeared (and drew the lines somewhat differently: he needn't agree, but I'd been taught not to overlook the bibliography that did not so much appeal to me); he didn't even know that the Apollo of Piombino, for example, was not Archaic but Archaizing. And, though E. R. Curtius did know Greek and knew it very thoroughly, of course, his translator, Willard Trask, did not always distinguish nu and upsilon or sigma and omicron, or, if he did, had not bothered to check the English edition before it went through several editions.
This is the sort of thing that we humble humanists do notice. I am always afraid to say anything about physics or mathematics, lest I insult scientific thought or make an ass of myself--or, worse, post something that the young may blithely copy and paste till kingdom come!
I hope Professor Kandel will not misunderstand my noticing the eroticism of "the Grecian vases from Stamnos". I suspect the German preposition auf might help to explain it. But, good lord, what are editors paid for? For another thing, in this day and age, and in his context, 'Grecian' for 'Greek' looks pretty silly.