Painting, aesthetics of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M048-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Why care about painting as an art? Does it offer to engage our aesthetic interest in ways that other art forms do not, or does it merely reproduce the aesthetic satisfactions they provide? Most paintings involve both marks on a surface, and something represented by those marks. Some attempts to say what is distinctive about painting concentrate on the former feature, understanding the art as an exploration of the two-dimensional picture plane. Others concentrate on the representational aspect, seeking to find something special about the things painting can represent, or the way in which it achieves this. The most promising approach acknowledges both aspects, and does so as essential elements in the experience we have of painting. If successful, this allows us to see painting as offering aesthetic values found elsewhere, but in a distinctive form. It also helps us to say something about a set of paintings we are otherwise in danger of ignoring – abstract works.

    Citing this article:
    Hopkins, Robert. Painting, aesthetics of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M048-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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