Continuity and Change in Art: The Development of Modes of Representation

Continuity and Change in Art: The Development of Modes of Representation

Continuity and Change in Art: The Development of Modes of Representation

Continuity and Change in Art: The Development of Modes of Representation

Synopsis

The representation of the form of objects and of space in painting, from paleolithic through contemporary time, has become increasingly integrated, complex, and abstract. Based on a synthesis of concepts drawn from the theories of Piaget and Freud, this book demonstrates that modes of representation in art evolve in a natural developmental order and are expressions of the predominant mode of thought in their particular cultural epoch. They reflect important features of the social order and are expressed in other intellectual endeavors as well, especially in concepts of science. A fascinating evaluation of the development of cognitive processes and the formal properties of art, this work should appeal to professionals and graduate students in developmental, cognitive, aesthetic, personality, and clinical psychology; to psychoanalysts interested in developmental theory; and to anyone interested in cultural history -- especially the history of art and the history of science.

Excerpt

Jean Piaget's extensive studies of individual cognitive development were based on a fundamental assumption--that his observations define a genetic epistemology, a theory about the natural evolution of knowledge that occurs in multiple contexts. Piaget assumed that his observations about the structural development of thought in the individual were applicable to the study of culture as well; he assumed that there is a fundamental parallel in cognitive development in individuals and in culture. Although there has been considerable investigation of individual psychological development based on Piaget's formulations, relatively few studies have examined Piaget's hypothesis that his observations are equally applicable to cultural development. This book is an attempt to test this hypothesis--to examine the extent to which a theory of cognitive development gained primarily from the study of individuals can provide understanding of sequences in cultural development.

This book considers the development of the concept of the form of objects and of space in the history of art and science in Western Civilization and examines the extent to which this process follows the basic developmental principles articulated in Piaget's genetic epistemology. The model of cognitive development, presented in Chapter 2, derives primarily from the work of Jean Piaget and Heinz Werner, and as extended by investigators in developmental psychology including Larendeau and Pinard, Olson, Feffer, Gardner . . .

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