The visual agnosias are an intriguing class of clinical phenomena that have important implications for current theories of high-level vision. Visual agnosia is defined as impaired object recognition that cannot be attributed to visual loss, language impairment, or a general mental decline. At least in some instances, agnostic patients generate an adequate internal representation of the stimulus but fail to recognize it. In this review, we begin by describing the classic works related to the visual agnosias, followed by a description of the major clinical variants and their occurrence in degenerative disorders. In keeping with the theme of this issue, we then discuss recent contributions to this domain. Finally, we present evidence from functional imaging studies to support the clinical distinction between the various types of visual agnosias.