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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1/2011

XLVIII (New Series: IV)
Issued: 15th May 2011
Biannual
Founded: 1964
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German

The Nonconceptual Content of Paintings

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/282/the-nonconceptual-content-of-paintings

 

This article argues that paintings have a nonconceptual content unlike that of mechanically produced images. The first part of the article outlines an information-theory approach (Lopes, Kulvicki) modelled on the camera and based on the idea that pictures convey information about what they depict. Picture structure is conceived of as contentful by virtue of a supposed causal link with what is depicted and as nonconceptual because it is independent of observers’ understanding. The second part introduces an embodied depiction approach based on Merleau-Ponty’s view of style and the act of painting. It is argued that (i) because of bodily mediation the nonconceptual content of paintings cannot be assimilated to the information-theory approach; (ii) painted configurations are contentful by virtue of being the product of intelligent activity, but are nonconceptual because they differ from concepts in their representational function.