The first major part of the book takes the reader to Vienna circa 1900, where radical changes in the fields of music (Gustav Mahler), literature (Arthur Schnitzler), and especially art (Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele) were paralleling the emergence of the field of psychoanalysis in the work of Sigmund Freud. Kandel describes the efforts in the arts to go beneath surface appearances to reveal the unconscious, sexual, and aggressive aspects of the human experience, just as Freud was describing these same processes in his early psychoanalytic papers. Kandel goes into great detail examining the evolution of the work of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele. Many reproductions of the works of these masters are included, which are printed in rich detail and faithful coloration. This first section of the book is most reflective of its title; the remainder of the book deals with the neurophysiology of the brain and its relationship to visual art. Those who are primarily interested in art, history, and psychoanalysis can stop after reading the first part (a fulfilling 181 pages); those who are also interested in brain physiology will be rewarded by further reading.