3 Some basics We often praise a work for its likeness to life. Paintings represent objects so we can see the object in the painting.If we can’t, the painting often loses its point, e.g. portraits, or fails as a painting.Artists and actors spend years developing techniques for realism.
5 How does art represent reality? Art is not an imitation, nor do pictures try to get us to confuse art with realityNor does art literally copy reality, e.g. when there is no reality to copy, but the artist makes it up as they goAnd the value of art is not judged by how exact a copy it is
13 AdvantagesWe can distinguish what is represented from what is expressed.We can value the artwork as an artwork without valuing what is represented.We can distinguish the value of an original from the value of a forgery.
14 Emotional expressionThis takes us towards the idea that art is valuable for emotional expression.The vision is always emotional (if it is valuable to us as art), i.e. it expresses emotional responses to or understandings of the world.But how can art express emotion?
15 Schedoni’s The Holy Family with the Virgin teaching the Child to Read (c. 1615)
16 Applying psychological terms to artworks A painting can’t literally be calm, content, intimate, sad…Are we describing what the painting is of, e.g. content, intimate people?
18 Audience emotionSuggestion: a ‘sad’ painting is a painting that arouses sadnessObj.: a painting can arouse sadness without expressing sadnessE.g. someone might feel sad looking at Schedoni because it reminds them that they don’t have an intimate familyThis doesn’t mean the painting is a sad painting - it isn’t
19 Artist emotion A sad painting expresses the artist’s sadness Objection: this limits what an artist can paint to what she or he feelsBetter: a sad painting is one that the artist intends to evoke sadness in the audienceA painting is experienced ‘correctly’ when the audience feels or at least understands the emotion the artist intended to arouse
20 Intention‘Intention’ here is broad, i.e. all psychological states that bring the artist to make the painting just as it isThe artist does not have to be conscious of their intentionTheir intention may evolve with the artworkAt some point, the artist accepts that the work is as it should beThis process of finding exactly the right expression of emotion is a large part of art.
22 Form and contentEmphasis on representation leads to a focus on what is represented, not howMany aesthetic judgments pick out form - grace, elegance, balance, harmony
23 Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks (1491-1508)
24 Bell on significant form We appreciate art for its form.All art, in fact, every picture, movement, series of sounds, has some form.Aesthetic response is not to form per se, but ‘significant form’.We can only identify whether something has significant form by our aesthetic response to it.Art is about the exploration of form, the contemplation of form for its own sake.
25 DiscussionFormalism works best where there is no representation, e.g. musicBut even here, expressivism can argue that it is the emotions expressed that matter - form is just a means to this.Significant form isn’t defined.We don’t just respond to the form of an artwork.
26 Rembrandt, Self-portrait at the age of 63 (1669)