The concept of the receptive field, first articulated by Hartline, is central to visual neuroscience. The receptive field of a neuron encompasses the spatial and temporal properties of stimuli that activate the neuron, and, as Hubel and Wiesel conceived of it, a neuron’s receptive field is static. This makes it possible to build models of neural circuits and to build up more complex receptive fields out of simpler ones. Recent work in visual neurophysiology is providing evidence that the classical receptive field is an inaccurate picture. The receptive field seems to be a dynamic feature of the neuron. In particular, the receptive field of neurons in V1 seems to be dependent on the properties of the stimulus. In this paper, we review the history of the concept of the receptive field and the problematic data. We then consider a number of possible theoretical responses to these data.