Have a look at this painting (click the image to enlarge), German romantic painter David Friedrich’s, “Monk by the Sea from 1809”. A classic work of art known to represent the modern condition of alienation. Now have a look at it again, and be aware of where your eyes are drawn. Do you look at the monk on the horizon, do you look a the edges where color and luminance contrast?
Now what would happen if we removed the monk from the painting? Where would your eyes go then? In this study, eye tracker lab did just that. To read the explanation, click on the image to see it full size. Essentially, the right image is the original, and the left image has the monk digitally removed. The two images below track where people looked.