The paper focuses on aesthetic emotions and the causative link that leads to a work of art being seen as pleasing or otherwise to an observer. Rather than proposing a systematic review of the literature on the subject, the paper presents the hypotheses, methods and results related to two different research and educational projects carried out by the authors. These concern the phenomenal experience that connects the perceptual analysis of a work of art to the complex cognitive analysis which underlies it. The aim is to demonstrate, in contrast to the popular line of thought that aesthetic emotions are automatic responses to a work of art, that people may experience aesthetic emotions as the result of the process they go through in order to understand that which can be observed in the artwork.
Keywords: Aesthetic experience, emotion, perception, Psychology of arts, Stendhal’s syndrome.