The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World

The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World

The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World

The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World

Synopsis

This book places child art within the broader context of children's creative intelligence and intrinsic motivation to invent a pictorial world. It examines the development of drawing and painting from several currently dominant theoretical perspectives. This is followed by an extensive examination of empirical data on the art work of children who are ordinary, talented, emotionally disturbed, and atypically developed due to mental disability or autism. The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World uses a developmental framework that combines theoretical sophistication with rigorous empirical investigations into the mental processes that underlie the child's drawings. It delineates the evolution of forms, the pictorial differentiation of figures and their spatial relations, the role of color in narrative descriptions, and its expressive function. Artistic development across all these dimensions is seen as a meaningful mental activity that serves cognitive, affective, and aesthetic functions.

Excerpt

A decade has passed since the publication of the first edition of The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World, and it seemed time to reassess the status of child art and review studies that were published in the intervening years.

The outcome of this review has been to expand the earlier version and to incorporate new findings in the current book. the basic philosophy that underpins the first edition continues to serve as a productive framework for an assessment of the available literature. in addition to updating references in all the chapters, I decided to expand those in which significant new findings have become available. in chapter 4, which deals with the problem of how to represent solid, three-dimensional objects and their spatial relations on the flat, two-dimensional space of the paper or canvas, I have included a more detailed review of Piagetian and neo-Piagetian research on the representation of spatial relations in drawing. I also report on some of my recent research that is of special relevance for our understanding of spatial and compositional strategies. in chapter 5, which is devoted to color, affect, and expression, I highlight sociocultural and individual differences; some children are “color dominant” in their use of bright, contrasting colors and their preference for expressive forms that ignore rules of realism, while other children are motivated to represent the world with utmost fidelity and thus opt for a more naturalistic style. Chapter 7, which is devoted to gifted child artists, is considerably expanded in its review of recent research on children talented in the visual arts and in its discussion of talent as a cultural construction. This chapter provides updated information on the case histories previously presented and includes an expanded section on the art of savants, the gifted autistic children and adolescents whose work presents a serious challenge to theories of child art as an index of conceptual development. Chapter 8 provides a more extensive presentation of the art of mentally retarded children, and chapter 9 includes a new section that reports on the child's changing conceptions of the nature of art and the role of the artist. Chapter 10 provides a more comprehensive review of the impact of cultural variables on drawings, and includes an extensive discussion of the art of preliterate children and of the role played by tradition and teaching practices on the evolution of child art.

Claire Golomb the University of Massachusetts at Boston . . .

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