Art Abstracts 1


Landscape and well-being: a scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments.
            (Abraham et al., 2010)  Download
OBJECTIVES:  The present literature review conceptualises landscape as a health resource that promotes physical, mental, and social well-being. Different health-promoting landscape characteristics are discussed. METHODS:  This article is based on a scoping study which represents a special kind of qualitative literature review. Over 120 studies have been reviewed in a five-step-procedure, resulting in a heuristic device. RESULTS:  A set of meaningful pathways that link landscape and health have been identified. Landscapes have the potential to promote mental well-being through attention restoration, stress reduction, and the evocation of positive emotions; physical well-being through the promotion of physical activity in daily life as well as leisure time and through walkable environments; and social well-being through social integration, social engagement and participation, and through social support and security. CONCLUSION:  This scoping study allows us to systematically describe the potential of landscape as a resource for physical, mental and social well-being. A heuristic framework is presented that can be applied in future studies, facilitating systematic and focused research approaches and informing practical public health interventions.

Photographic art in exam rooms may reduce white coat hypertension.
            (Harper et al., 2015)  Download
INTRODUCTION:  Blood pressure (BP) elevation in medical office settings in patients who are normotensive in nonmedical settings is an effect known as 'white coat hypertension'. This phenomenon is thought to be due to situational anxiety caused by the experience of visiting a doctor and the anxiety-inducing nature of the medical office. Our study was designed to determine if carefully selected photographic art could counter the anxiety that causes white coat hypertension and lead to lower BP recordings in some patients. METHODS:  117 adults, non-pregnant patients from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Family Medicine Resident Clinic participated in this study. After the triage nurse measured the BP, the patients were randomly placed in either an exam room with standard medical posters (control room) or in an exam room with photographic art (photo room). The BP was measured in the exam room. After the medical visit, the patients switched rooms and the BP was measured a third time. The patients were asked to fill out a questionnaire to identify room preference. RESULTS:  On average, the BP obtained in the control rooms was higher than that obtained in the photo rooms. There was a statistically significant difference between the mean arterial pressure, systolic BP and diastolic BP between the control room and the photo room. CONCLUSIONS:  Landscape photographic art may have the beneficial effect of reducing BP in medical office examination rooms.

The Role of Landscape Posters in an Office Setting
            (Kweon, 2007)  Download
Anger and stress management have become important issues in the modern workplace. One out of four American workers report themselves to be chronically angry, which has been linked to negative outcomes such as retaliatory behavior, revenge, interpersonal aggression, poor work performance, absenteeism, and increased turnover. We hypothesized that people who work in office environments decorated with aesthetically engaging art posters would experience less stress and anger in response to task-related frustration. Two hundred and ten college students were randomly assigned to different office conditions where abstract and nature paintings were hung on the walls. Participants performed four mild anger-provoking computer tasks and then reported their levels of state anger and stress. Results indicate that different office conditions had a significant influence on state anger and stress for males but not for females. Males experienced less state anger and stress when art posters were present. Through mediation analysis, we found that increased proportions of nature paintings decreased state anger because of decreased levels of stress.

Experimental Study on the Health Benefits of Garden Landscape.
            (Lee, 2017)  Download
To mitigate the negative effects of modern cities on health, scientists are focusing on the diverse benefits of natural environments; a conceptual approach to use gardens for promoting human health is being attempted. In this study, the effects of the visual landscape of a traditional garden on psychological and physiological activities were investigated. Eighteen male and female adults participated in this indoor experiment (mean age, 26.7 years). Twelve different landscape images for city and garden were presented continuously for 90 s. In the time series changes of oxygenated hemoglobin (O₂Hb), different patterns of changes were observed between the city and garden. The mean O₂Hb values increased for the city landscapes, whereas they decreased for the garden landscapes both in the left and right prefrontal cortices. Significant differences in the negative psychological states of tension, fatigue, confusion, and anxiety were observed between the city and garden landscapes. Important differences in the physiological and psychological responses to the two different landscapes were also detected between male and female participants, providing valuable clues to individual differences in the health benefits of natural landscapes. To validate the use of gardens as a resource for promoting health in urban dwellers, further scientific evidence, active communication, and collaboration among experts in the relevant field are necessary.

The artist, depression, and the mood landscape.
            (Lerner and Witztum, 2015)  Download
The association between affective illness and artistic creativity is well known to artists themselves and is manifested in their works (1–3). There is an intimate connection between the artist’s innerworld, his feelings of depression, despair, or happiness, and his paintings. This relationship is clearly seen in theworks of the Russian painter Isaak Levitan (1860–1900), who has been called the father of Russian landscape painting. He suffered from depression, twice attempted suicide, and died at age 40 from serious heart disease.

Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environments on Health.
            (Seresinhe et al., 2015)  Download
Few people would deny an intuitive sense of increased wellbeing when spending time in beautiful locations. Here, we ask: can we quantify the relationship between environmental aesthetics and human health? We draw on data from Scenic-Or-Not, a website that crowdsources ratings of "scenicness" for geotagged photographs across Great Britain, in combination with data on citizen-reported health from the Census for England and Wales. We find that inhabitants of more scenic environments report better health, across urban, suburban and rural areas, even when taking core socioeconomic indicators of deprivation into account, such as income, employment and access to services. Our results provide evidence in line with the striking hypothesis that the aesthetics of the environment may have quantifiable consequences for our wellbeing.

Landscape With Poplars: Paul Gauguin.
            (Smith, 2015)  Download
The graceful islanders and palm trees of his South Pacific paintings may come to mind with mention of Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and the bold red, blue, and other bright expanses of color hint of a conceptual insurrection in art that would contribute to the age of modernism. But there was a lesser known Gauguin who early on painted finely nuanced scenes of French countryside, also a salute to nature, but worlds away from a simpler, more elemental artistic style of conveying life in the tropics characteristic of his later work.


Physiological and psychological effects of viewing urban forest landscapes assessed by multiple measurements
            (Tsunetsugu et al., 2013)  Download
The present study investigated the physiological and psychological effects of viewing urban forest landscapes on 48 young male urban residents. Four forested areas and four urban areas located in central and western Japan were used as the test sites. We found that in the forested areas, the subjects exhibited (i) significantly lower diastolic blood pressure,(ii) significantly higher parasympathetic nervous activity, but significantly lower sympathetic nervous activity, and (iii) significantly lower heart rate. The forest landscapes (iv) obtained better scores in subjective ratings, and (v) induced significantly less negative and more vigorous moods. Taken as whole, these findings suggest that even a short-term viewing of forests has relaxing effects. We have thus concluded that the approach taken in this study is useful in exploring the influences of urban green space on humans, as well as contributing to the planning and design of a healthy environment for urban residents.

Health effects of viewing landscapes–Landscape types in environmental psychology
            (Velarde et al., 2007)  Download
The visible landscape is believed to affect human beings in many ways, including aesthetic appreciation and health and well-being. The aim of this paper is to analyse the range of landscapes used in environmental psychology studies, and the evidence of health effects related to viewing these landscapes. A literature review of publications linking landscapes and health effects was conducted. This reported evidence of health and well-being effects related to exposure to visual landscapes. The results of the review include an overview of  of the types of landscape used in the studies, the evidence on health effects, the methods and measures applied and the different groups of respondents. The analysis reveals a predominance of studies using only coarse categories of landscapes. Most landscape representations have been classed as ‘‘natural’’ or ‘‘urban’’. Few studies were found to use subcategories within these groups. Generally, the natural landscapes gave a stronger positive health effect compared to urban landscapes. Urban landscapes were found to have a less positive and in some cases negative effect on health. Three main kinds of health effects have been identified in the study; short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue, faster physical recovery from illness and long-term overall improvement on people’s health and well-being. The study provides an overview of the relationships between health and landscapes arranged in an accessible format, identifying gaps in our knowledge requiring further research. The identification of quantifiable landscape attributes that affect health is seen as an important factor in enabling future landscape design to be of benefit to human health.


Stronger shared taste for natural aesthetic domains than for artifacts of human culture.
            (Vessel et al., 2018)  Download
Individuals can be aesthetically engaged by a diverse array of visual experiences (paintings, mountain vistas, etc.), yet the processes that support this fundamental mode of interaction with the world are poorly understood. We tested whether there are systematic differences in the degree of shared taste across visual aesthetic domains. In Experiment 1, preferences were measured for five different visual aesthetic domains using a between-subjects design. The degree of agreement amongst participants differed by domain, with preferences for images of faces and landscapes containing a high proportion of shared taste, while preferences for images of exterior architecture, interior architecture and artworks reflected strong individual differences. Experiment 2 used a more powerful within-subjects design to compare the two most well matched domains-natural landscapes and exterior architecture. Agreement across individuals was significantly higher for natural landscapes than exterior architecture, with no differences in reliability. These results show that the degree of shared versus individual aesthetic preference differs systematically across visual domains, even for photographic images of real-world content. The findings suggest that the distinction between naturally occurring domains (e.g. faces and landscape) versus artifacts of human culture (e.g. architecture and artwork) is a general organizational principle governing the presence of shared aesthetic taste. We suggest that the behavioral relevance of naturally occurring domains results in information processing, and hence aesthetic experience, that is highly conserved across individuals; artifacts of human culture, which lack uniform behavioral relevance for most individuals, require the use of more individual aesthetic sensibilities that reflect varying experiences and different sources of information.



Abraham, A, K Sommerhalder, and T Abel (2010), ‘Landscape and well-being: a scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments.’, Int J Public Health, 55 (1), 59-69. PubMed: 19768384
Harper, MB, et al. (2015), ‘Photographic art in exam rooms may reduce white coat hypertension.’, Med Humanit, 41 (2), 86-88. PubMed: 25861793
Kweon (2007), ‘The Role of Landscape Posters in an Office Setting’, Environment and Behavior, 40 (3), 355-81. PubMed:
Lee, J (2017), ‘Experimental Study on the Health Benefits of Garden Landscape.’, Int J Environ Res Public Health, 14 (7), PubMed: 28737718
Lerner, V and E Witztum (2015), ‘The artist, depression, and the mood landscape.’, Am J Psychiatry, 172 (3), 225-26. PubMed: 25727535
Seresinhe, CI, T Preis, and HS Moat (2015), ‘Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environments on Health.’, Sci Rep, 5 16899. PubMed: 26603464
Smith, JM (2015), ‘Landscape With Poplars: Paul Gauguin.’, JAMA, 314 (13), 1322-23. PubMed: 26441166
Tsunetsugu, Y, J Lee, and BJ Park (2013), ‘Physiological and psychological effects of viewing urban forest landscapes assessed by multiple measurements’, Landscape and Urban Planning, 113 90- 93. PubMed:
Velarde, MD, et al. (2007), ‘Health effects of viewing landscapes–Landscape types in environmental psychology’, Urban Forestry & Greening, 6 199-212. PubMed:
Vessel, EA, et al. (2018), ‘Stronger shared taste for natural aesthetic domains than for artifacts of human culture.’, Cognition, 179 121-31. PubMed: 29936343