Art Emotions Map

April 2021 | By Alan Cowen, U.C. Berkeley, in collaboration with Artists in Residence at Google Arts & Culture Lab: Nicolas Barradeau, Romain Cazier

Explore the atlas of emotions and see how artworks are connected with your feelings!

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Emotions help us respond to the world around us - to make decisions, understand people, avoid danger, and survive. Emotions also help other people understand us.

Art can trigger emotions too. Over millennia, humans have depicted a vast spectrum of emotions in art that we can relate to our own experiences, which then trigger feelings within us.  Can art therefore help refine our understanding of complex human emotions?

With scientists from University of California, Berkeley, Prof. Dr. Dacher Keltner and Alan Cowen, we conducted research on the emotions evoked by artworks through time and across cultures. We asked 1,300 people to describe how 1,500 paintings make them feel by choosing from different words.

The results revealed 25 different emotions that are associated with artworks that they viewed. We then plotted these feelings on an interactive map, grouping artworks that triggered specific emotions.

Enter this atlas of emotions and see how  the colors, brushstrokes, shapes, and subjects make you feel.