Making those ideas a reality is hard. Thankfully this is also a quick read so you can move cover to cover in a couple hours. The Art Spirit by Robert Henri is a staple in many art schools for good reason. I definitely find the writing a bit tougher here and somewhat confusing.
But also very interesting. As long as you really enjoy artwork and want to delve beneath the surface of art, this book will never cease to leave you questioning. Most creatives face similar obstacles like creative block, self-doubt, and impostor syndrome among many other challenges.
But it also covers the pains of creative blockage and the fear of the blank page. Certainly a great read and both authors are artists themselves. Really a book made by artists, for artists. Hegel is one of the most common philosophers with very strong opinions on the arts from sculpting to painting.
Certainly an interesting read for anyone studying philosophy, art, or any mix of the two. Still, this is a treasure trove of great ideas that strive to explain why and how humans create art. However the ideas inside are, in a way, quite philosophical to artists. Over short pages Austin shares his thoughts and experiences on creativity. Where ideas come from, how artists borrow from others, and how most works are derivative of something.
This is a pretty short read and it may not interest everyone. Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics aims to provide a true introduction to anyone breaching this topic for the first time.
Outline of aesthetics - Wikipedia
Topics range from the philosophy of beauty and aesthetics all the way to critiques on modern art. Proust was thus emphasizing the primacy of instinct and intuition in the creation of a work of art but the primacy of intellect in discussing it. Hence he, too, was giving the intellect and cognition a secondary place in artistic appreciation. More recently, Freedberg and Gallese have challenged the primacy of cognition in responses to art and have related such responses to phylogenetically acquired embodied simulations, that is to a correspondence between the viewed work and the universal brain templates that they activate, emphasizing in particular the actions represented and their brain templates within the context of mirror neuron systems.
This is a perfect recipe for neuroesthetic investigation, which also is concerned more with neural essentials, while not denying that culture is an important component in the experience of beauty. Reality can therefore be distorted through the conceptions of an artist but these distortions are only distortions of the external reality; they maintain the significant form because significant form is a part of our mental, and therefore neurobiological, constitution. It is therefore interesting to emphasize that, in our experiments referred to above, the objective identification of the brain locus, whose intensity of activity correlates with the declared intensity of the experience of beauty, is indifferent to culture, upbringing, education, national or ethnic values.
The subjects participating in these experiments came from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Not all paintings or musical excerpts were uniformly experienced as beautiful by all subjects but, whenever a subject experienced beauty, there was, as a correlate, activity in the mOFC. Without denying the importance of culture and education in shaping the experience of beauty, the importance of this neurobiological definition transcends cultures and is universal.
This leads to some confusion. For, to arouse an emotion, lines, forms, and colors must be perceived first, a function of the perceptive system of the brain.
Hence, interposed between lines, forms, and colors and the emotion that they arouse is perception. I agree with Gould Gould, that what Bell calls the aesthetic emotion is better described as the aesthetic perception; his entire argument acquires much greater force and coherence, as well as neurobiological relevance, when viewed in that light. Neurobiology, in turn, is better guided to ask how visual perception can arouse the aesthetic emotion. It is common knowledge that many, including Vitruvius, Alberti, and Leonardo, have sought a characteristic or characteristics of objects that render them beautiful, but without any firm conclusion.
This is partly due to the fact that characteristics such as proportion and symmetry, though applicable to architecture, cannot be applied to attributes such as color and it is significant that Bell does not mention them either.
It is, therefore, idle to suppose that one can identify a single characteristic or a single set of characteristics that renders objects as diverse as the list that Bell gives beautiful. Let us for a moment assume that when Bell writes of lines, forms, and colors, and certain combinations of the three, he literally means lines, forms, and colors, but ones that are assembled in certain emotionally or, better still, perceptually provocative ways.
There is no doubt of the existence of a hierarchical processing within visual areas Alonso and Martinez, ; Martinez and Alonso, But, even today, it is not at all certain that, if orientation selective cells are the precursors for the elaboration of complex forms in the brain, how that elaboration occurs, in other words how orientation selective cells are used to construct more complex objects, such as the ones that area lateral occipital cortex LOC responds to Grill-Spector et al.
The Philosophy of Art: An Introduction
Hence the relationship of line to form is not at all clear. Lines may be arranged in a pleasing way but when combined to produce more complex forms, the result may not be so pleasing. Nor is the relationship of line to form the only enigmatic one in neurobiological terms; so is the relationship of form to color, the relationship of moving to stationary stimuli, and of both to color. It is obvious that any picture, even one combining line and color alone, as perhaps in the work of Piet Mondrian or Yves Klein, to mention just two, may have a certain combination and configuration of lines which may activate the areas containing heavy concentrations of orientation line selective cells optimally or specifically, and a certain combination of colors that may activate the cerebral areas specialized for the perception of colors sub-optimally, or vice versa.
In fact, the examples that Bell enumerates in his list above are much more complex — line and color are only two among many other components. Here again, one may find configurations that are optimal or specific for stimulating one of the specialized visual areas but not the others. For although there is no disputing their importance, these attributes are not only processed by separate neural systems in the brain Zeki, a , b ; DeYoe and Van Essen, ; Shipp and Zeki, ; Livingstone and Hubel, ; Zeki et al. The primary visual cortex, or visual area V1, is the principal but not sole cortical recipient of visual signals from the retina.
Surrounding it are several visual areas which receive specialized visual signals from it and from other visual centers, both cortical and sub-cortical. Apart from one area V2 which, like V1, appears to have all the primary visual attributes represented in it Zeki, a ; DeYoe and Van Essen, ; Shipp and Zeki, ; Livingstone and Hubel, the other areas surrounding V1—V2 are specialized to process different attributes of the visual world.
Among these specializations are ones for visual motion based on area V5 and its satellites — the V5 complex; Zeki, ; Watson et al. Other areas are specialized for the perception of faces Sergent et al.
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Evidence suggests that there are other cerebral visual areas which are specialized for other attributes. One of these is the LOC Malach et al. The total number of visual areas in the brain has not yet been determined, and more areas continue to be discovered; previously established areas are sometimes subdivided into further areas. For further details, see text. The functions that I have attributed to these areas are not necessarily their only functions. It is certain that there are common functions that they all share.
Among these is attention, and all areas so far studied have been found to have attentional mechanisms built into them Boynton, ; Jehee et al. It is probable that each area has additional functions. What is reasonably well established is that damage to the brain, when restricted to one of these areas, results in an imperception for the attribute for which that area is specialized.
Damage to the V4 complex leads to the syndrome of cerebral achromatopsia Meadows, a ; Mollon et al. In fact, even the form system of the visual brain, widely regarded as a single hierarchical system Felleman and Van Essen, that elaborates complex forms from more simple ones, and especially from cells that respond to lines of specific orientation, may in fact be composed of several parallel systems. The evidence for this comes from two sources — brain imaging experiments and clinical observations.
The former shows that increasingly more complex forms constituted from lines lines, angles, and rhomboids do not activate visual areas with heavy concentrations of orientation selective cells more strongly than the simple lines from which they are constituted, as would be expected if complex forms are built up serially from simpler ones; instead all three forms activate all such areas with equal strength. Moreover, the latency of activation of these areas with lines and rhomboids is also much the same Shigihara and Zeki, , rather than what might be expected from the hierarchical doctrine of form construction, that more complex forms should activate the visual areas with longer latencies than simpler forms.
This suggests that the perceptual hierarchy of forms is not mirrored by a spatial or temporal hierarchy of form processing in the brain. The clinical evidence shows that an agnosia for complex shapes and objects need not be accompanied by an agnosia for simple line representation of the same shapes Humphreys and Riddoch, and, conversely, that agnosia for simple line drawings of complex shapes need not be accompanied by an agnosia for the complex shapes themselves Hiraoka et al.
These are some of the best documented examples of specific visual syndromes resulting from damage to specific, specialized, visual areas, although there are other ones. Collectively, this evidence supplements the anatomical and physiological evidence in favor of a functional specialization in the visual brain. Grouping or segmentation is a critical process in visual recognition Wertheimer et al. Anatomical and imaging experiments show that the processes underlying grouping for different attributes are separated within the parietal cortex.
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It seems likely that a separate but contiguous part of the parietal cortex is involved in grouping of visual signals according to form Braddick et al. Moreover, these same but separate regions of parietal cortex appear to be involved in forming visual concepts based on color and motion Cheadle and Zeki, , submitted. Among the brain areas where the intensity of activity is proportional to the preferred pattern of kinetic stimuli are areas V5, seen here in a horizontal brain section A and the parietal cortex, shown in a sagittal section B.
The activity in V5 that correlated with the preferred ratings of these kinetic patterns also correlated with activity in the mOFC B. From Zeki and Stutters A specialization for processing different visual attributes can also be surmised from psychophysical evidence, which shows that we become conscious of the color of a visual stimulus before we become conscious of its orientation or of its direction of motion Moutoussis and Zeki, ; Viviani and Aymoz, ; Arnold and Clifford, ; Linares and Lopez-Moliner, The temporal difference is not insignificant — color is perceived before motion by about 80 ms, an inordinately long time in neural terms.
Hence the observed functional specialization is projected in time, and leads to a perceptual asynchrony in vision. Since attributes such as color, form and motion are processed by distinct and geographically separate areas of the visual brain, it follows that visual consciousness is distributed in space.
Since we become conscious of different attributes at different times, it follows that visual consciousness is also distributed in time.