About this topic
Summary For Vasari, who was a pioneer in the field of Renaissance art studies, sculpture belongs to the field of visual arts, and is related to drawing. However, according to Paul Claudel, this artistic category is characterized by another specificity:  the "need to touch", and the idealization of beauty which elicits the connection between matter and form. The haptic drive is not, therefore, the only element informing the aesthetic moment occurring when one apprehends three-dimension sculptured objects. From the hellenic period to our modern times, sculptors have translated worlds of ideas and ideals into the field of sensitive and sensible forms, thereby helping aesthetic thought to transcend the purely naturalistic, anthropomorphic idealization of the body.   
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Sculpture is concerned by an array of philosophical issues encompassing the challenge of three-dimensionality, the essence of physicality, as well as time- and ethics- related aspects. On claiming that "everyone must sculpt the statue of his or her self", Plato expressed his metaphysical conception of sculpture (Cf. the Republic, and the Meno). Considered as a copy of the self, the anthropomorphic statue of the hellenic world stood for an immortalized and timeless embodiment of the soul. As in all antique civilizations concerned with war damages, architecture and painting were seen as prone to disappear more easily than sculpure. But during Renaissance Art, a man-centred vision of harmony gave prominence over the absolutism of symmetry Russo et al 2003. Such views differ from the modern aesthetics influenced by  Heidegger Lorentzen 2019. A more comprehensive and contemporary approach to the philosophy of sculpture will provide new insights on the reception of non-Western aesthetics, including the Yoruba or Indian aesthetics that have developed parallel but different conceptions of the sculptural art Mitchell 2010.

Introductions Brook 1963; Lefrançois 2019Sundar 2004Babatunde 1974Bieber 1956
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  1. Vertiginous Acedie.Gavin Keeney - manuscript
    Review of “Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union: New Art from Russia,” Saatchi Gallery, London, England, and “Calder After the War,” Pace Gallery, London, England, April 2013. A version of this essay appeared in the Appendices of Gavin Keeney, Not-I/Thou: The Other Subject of Art and Architecture (CSP, 2014), pp. 157-60.
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  2. Leonardo's Figures, the Materiality of Lombard Sculpture and the Aesthetics of the "Moti".Mira Becker-Sawatzky - forthcoming - Leonardo in Dialogue / Edited by Francesca Borgo, Rodolfo Maffeis, Alessandro Nova.
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  3. Kant, Co-Production, Actuality and Pedestrian Space: On the Philosophical Writings of Fred Sandback.Juliette Kennedy - forthcoming - In Roman Kossak & Philip Ording (eds.), Simplicity: Ideals of Practice in Mathematics and the Arts. Springer.
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  4. The Indecent Body of Sculpture: Theodor Storms Realist Psyche.Catriona MacLeod - forthcoming - .
    Stubbornly associated with eighteenth-century neoclassical aesthetics, in the nineteenth century sculpture comes under scrutiny as a species of obsolete, sensualistic object. This essay considers the ambivalent status of sculpture in German Realist Theodor Storms novella _Psyche_. Storms text is preoccupied with questions of decency and indecency, questions that were raised not only by Storm himself, but by contemporary reviewers, as well as viewers of sculpture in the novella. _Psyche_, this chapter argues, flirts with the eroticism of antique sculpture, but also (...)
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  5. Network Sculpture.Jane Tingley - forthcoming - Mind and Matter: Comparative Approaches Towards Complexity;[... Based on the Symposium... Which Took Place 2010 in the Context of the Paraflows Festival in Vienna].
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  6. Arrest: The Politics and Transcendence of Aesthetic Arrest Qua Protest.Ekin Erkan - 2020 - AEQAI.
    Recently, given the fomenting protests following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery (amongst countless others), much discussion has erupted amongst contemporary artist-activists about the proper place for art and the aestheticization of politics. This is, of course, by no means a novel conversation. Historically, the aestheticization of politics has been disparaged perhaps most vocally by those such as Adorno and Horkheimer, but this critique has its most well-known roots in Plato. Plato’s critique is levelled at the (...)
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  7. Aesthetics of Expression in Contemporary Sudan Sculpture.M. S. Hamzah & M. A. J. Alkilabi - 2020 - Int. J. Psychosoc. Rehab. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation 24 (6):17641-17654.
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  8. Sculpture, Sexuality and History : Encounters in Literature, Culture and the Arts From the Eighteenth Century to the Present.Jana Funke & Jen Grove (eds.) - 2019 - Springer.
    This book investigates the wide-ranging connections between sculpture, sexuality, and history in Western culture from the eighteenth century to the present. Sculpture has offered a privileged site for the articulation of sexual experience and the formation of sexual knowledge. As historical objects, sculptures also draw attention to the different ways in which knowledge about sexuality is facilitated through an engagement with the past. Bringing together contributors from across disciplines, including art history, classics, film studies, gender studies, history, literary studies, museum (...)
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  9. L'artivisme d'Anish Kapoor : une poietique du détournement ?Frédéric Lefrançois - 2019 - Recherches En Esthétique 24 (Art et détournement):173-188.
    Can provocative sculptural aesthetics alter our perception of history? This article focuses on the sensational effect caused by the 2015 exhibition of Anish Kapoor's monumental Dirty Corner in Versailles. Does the reception of such contextual art rely on the ability to collate different aesthetic experiences on the artwork's surface? The Indo-British sculptor's divisive use of ethics has opposed the supporters of a vision of art based on the quest for the sublime to those who opt for an artistic adventure pulling (...)
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  10. Sculpture and the Sense of Place.Jakob Due Lorentzen - 2019 - Open Philosophy 2 (1):629-639.
    This article proposes a direction—inspired by a reading of Heidegger’s reflections on sculpture— in which thinking enriched by artistic experience can unfold an alternative mode of being-in-the-world. Heidegger points out that, in contrast to a scientific understanding of space as an empty container, the special character of space in sculpture is characterized by a clearing-away, which presupposes and points to an open, receptive attitude toward experience that is necessary for dwelling to take place. From Heidegger this article proceeds to reflect (...)
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  11. The Gendered Body in Roman Sculpture - Davies Gender and Body Language in Roman Art. Pp. XII + 357, Ills. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Cased, £90, Us$120. Isbn: 978-0-521-84273-0. [REVIEW]Lindsey A. Mazurek - 2019 - The Classical Review 69 (1):284-286.
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  12. Metropolitan Fetish : African Sculpture and the Imperial French Invention of Primitive Art.John Warne Monroe (ed.) - 2019 - New York: Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
    A history of the French reception of African art, especially wooden masks and figures, in the first four decades of the twentieth century, and how that reception led to the creation of the broader aesthetic category Westerners now know as "primitive art.
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  13. Greek Sculptures and Reactions to Them - Kousser the Afterlives of Greek Sculpture. Interaction, Transformation, and Destruction. Pp. XVI + 309, Ills, Maps, Colour Pls. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Cased, £75, Us$99.99. Isbn: 978-1-107-04072-4. [REVIEW]Sarantis Symeonoglou - 2019 - The Classical Review 69 (1):269-271.
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  14. Encountering the Niobe’s Children: Vernon Lee’s Queer Formalism and the Empathy of Sculpture.Francesco Ventrella - 2019 - In Jana Funke & Jen Grove (eds.), Sculpture, sexuality and history: encounters in literature, culture and the arts from the Eighteenth Century to the present. Genders and Sexualities in History. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 195-219.
    The materiality of sculpture was essential to Vernon Lee’s psychological theory of aesthetics based on the beholder’s physical responses. Through collaboration with her lover Clementina Anstruther-Thomson, Lee developed a theory of embodiment based on German psychological empathy theories which was reliant on gallery rather than laboratory experiments. This chapter focuses on the reception of their work within the psychological circles of the time and, in contrast to interpretation of the two women’s intellectual collaboration as a transposition of lesbian desire, I (...)
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  15. Bartman The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture 3: The Ideal Sculpture. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017. Pp. 208. £75. 9781781383100. [REVIEW]Glenys Davies - 2018 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 138:294-295.
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  16. Fullerton Greek Sculpture. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Pp. Xxvii + 351. £96.50/£44.50. 9781444339802/9781444339796. [REVIEW]Helle Hochscheid - 2018 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 138:293-294.
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  17. Photographing Sculpture: Aesthetic and Semiotic Issues.Francesca Polacci - 2018 - Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 11 (2):129-143.
    The essay aims to outline an epistemology of photography through the critical issues that arise from the encounter between photography and sculpture. In particular, it investigates the aesthetic and semiotic constraints that define the specificity of the photographic look with respect to a sculptural three-dimensional vision. The relationship between documentary and art photographs is the main area of research; specifically, the essay tries to highlight the interpretative value that can also be attributed to documentary photography, underlining the boundaries of a (...)
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  18. The Non-Objects of Anish Kapoor’s Fancy.Michael Gutierrez - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 78:44-52.
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  19. Baudelaire’s Critique of Sculpture. Cusmariu - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 49 (3):96-124.
    Am şlefuit materia pentru a afla linia continuă.Und das Problem ensteht: was is das, was übrigbleibt, wenn ich von der Tatsache, daß ich meinen Arm hebe, die abziehe, daß mein Arm sich hebt?Acknowledged to have launched modern poetry with Les Fleurs du mal, Charles Baudelaire was also a prolific and influential art critic, a close friend of Edouard Manet, and an early champion of Eugène Delacroix. At one time decidedly not a friend of sculpture, Baudelaire published a critique of this (...)
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  20. Edgar Degas Sculpture.Guillaume Evrard - 2015 - The European Legacy 20 (2):187-188.
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  21. An Introduction to Greek Sculpture - Spivey Greek Sculpture. Pp. XXIV + 329, Ills, Colour Pls. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Paper, £19.99, Us$34.99 . Isbn: 978-0-521-75698-3. [REVIEW]Richard Neer - 2014 - The Classical Review 64 (1):268-270.
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  22. Shooting into the Corner : Anish Kapoor et l’authenticité de l’aléatoire.Ronald Shusterman - 2014 - Noesis 22:109-125.
    Le concept d’authenticité sert de base à la valorisation de la thématique de « l’identité » qui domine aujourd’hui. Anish Kapoor présente toutes les garanties de cette « hybridité » actuellement très à la mode. Toutefois, il résiste explicitement à toute tentative de « mise en boîte » qui le cantonnerait à l’expression d’une quelconque « indianité ». Kapoor est connu pour l’aspect sensoriel et aléatoire de son travail. Shooting into the Corner est un excellent exemple d’une œuvre qui évacue (...)
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  23. The Emergence of the Classical Style in Greek Sculpture.John Boardman - 2013 - Common Knowledge 19 (1):140-140.
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  24. Ready-Mades: Ontology and Aesthetics.Simon J. Evnine - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (4):407-423.
    I explore the interrelations between the ontological and aesthetic issues raised by ready-mades such as Duchamp’s Fountain. I outline a hylomorphic metaphysics which has two central features. First, hylomorphically complex objects have matter to which they are not identical. Secondly, when such objects are artefacts (including artworks), it is essential to them that they are the products of creative work on their matter. Against this background, I suggest that ready-mades are of aesthetic interest because they pose a dilemma. Is there (...)
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  25. The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Relations Between Painting and Sculpture in the Modern Age.James Hall - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (4):ayt005.
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  26. I. Familiar Characterizations of Sculpture.Hud Hudson - 2013 - In Christy Mag Uidhir (ed.), Art and Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press. pp. 223.
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  27. Fantasmi Dell'arte: Sei Storie Con Spettatore.Filippo Fimiani - 2012 - Liguori.
    « The destiny of Art—a revenant». « The object of Art might be to seek to eliminate the necessity of the object ». This book’s theme and method stand halfway between these two assertions—the first by the German romantic poet Novalis, the second by the Californian post-minimalist artists Robert Irwin and James Turrell about a research program on art and technology in the late 1960s. Neither of these statements declares that art is dead. On the contrary, they announce that art (...)
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  28. On Sculpture.Anthony O'Hear - 2012 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 71:1-12.
    Is there anything significant in the fact that Aristotle, in explaining his conception of causation, takes the activity a sculptor as one of his key exemplars, his paradigm, if you like? In this paper, I am going to see if, in using Aristotle's account of causation, we can illuminate the nature of sculpture and the approach sculptors take to their art.
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  29. The Emergence of the Classical Style in Greek Sculpture.N. Spivey - 2012 - British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (1):107-110.
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  30. A Cognitive Approach to the Earliest Art.Johan de Smedt & Helen de Cruz - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (4):379-389.
    This paper takes a cognitive perspective to assess the significance of some Late Palaeolithic artefacts (sculptures and engraved objects) for philosophicalconcepts of art. We examine cognitive capacities that are necessary to produceand recognize objects that are denoted as art. These include the ability toattribute and infer design (design stance), the ability to distinguish between themateriality of an object and its meaning (symbol-mindedness), and an aesthetic sensitivity to some perceptual stimuli. We investigate to what extent thesecognitive processes played a role in (...)
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  31. Galilean Argumentation and the Inauthenticity of the Cigoli Letter on Painting Vs. Sculpture.Maurice A. Finocchiaro - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):492-508.
  32. Sculpture and Perspective.R. Hopkins - 2010 - British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (4):357-373.
    In every picture there is a perspective: the picture represents its object from a point (or points) of view. Is the same true of sculpture, and in particular is it true of the purest form of sculpture, sculpture in the round? I address this issue in two ways. First, I explore the prospects for reasoning that perspective forms part of the content of some sculptures by adapting an argument from M. G. F. Martin for the parallel claim in the case (...)
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  33. A Landscape Sculpture To Play On Landscape Sculpture on a Reinforced Concrete Bridge in Munich, Germany.Thomas Jakob - 2010 - Topos: European Landscape Magazine 72:39.
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  34. Heidegger Among the Sculptors: Body, Space, and the Art of Dwelling.Andrew Mitchell - 2010 - Stanford University Press.
    In the 1950s and 60s, Martin Heidegger turned to sculpture to rethink the relationship between bodies and space and the role of art in our lives. In his texts on the subject—a catalog contribution for an Ernst Barlach exhibition, a speech at a gallery opening for Bernhard Heiliger, a lecture on bas-relief depictions of Athena, and a collaboration with Eduardo Chillida—he formulates his later aesthetic theory, a thinking of relationality. Against a traditional view of space as an empty container for (...)
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  35. The Structure of an Aesthetic Revolution.Arnold Cusmariu - 2009 - Journal of Visual Arts Practice 8 (3):163-179.
    Brought about through philosophical analysis – a first in the history of art – paradigm shifts in the ontology and epistemology of sculpture are described, motivated, and exemplified with pieces they inspired. Navigating the new aesthetic environment requires an ‘escape from Plato's Cave’ by means of a kind of phenomenological reduction. The new conceptual foundation allows artists unprecedented levels of freedom to explore and innovate, connects sculpture to music, and has the potential to enhance significantly the appreciation of art and (...)
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  36. Wars of Statues in Latvia: The History Told and Made by Public Sculpture.Sergei Kruk - 2009 - Revue Belge de Philologie Et D’Histoire 87 (3):705-721.
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  37. Stylistic Influences in Early Manx Sculpture.David M. Wilson - 2009 - In Anglo-Saxon/Irish Relations before the Vikings. pp. 311.
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  38. Sculpture and Touch: Herder's Aesthetics of Sculpture.Rachel Zuckert - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (3):285-299.
    I present and analyze J.G. Herder’s aesthetics of sculpture, as an art form directed toward and appreciated by the sense of touch. I argue that Herder is unsuccessful in his attempt so to define sculpture, but his account is nonetheless fruitful, both in making salient and explaining signal aspects of sculptural appreciation and criticism and, more broadly and quite innovatively, in proposing an aesthetics of touch, even an embodied aesthetics.
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  39. Romanesque Architectural Sculpture: The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures.Jeffrey F. Hamburger - 2008 - Common Knowledge 14 (2):320-321.
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  40. Response: Why Is Laughter Almost Non-Existent in Ancient Greek Sculpture?Quentin Skinner - 2008 - Cogito 8:22.
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  41. The “Hard Form” of Sculpture: Marble, Matter and Spirit in European Sculpture From the Enlightenment Through Romanticism*: Linda Walsh.Linda Walsh - 2008 - Modern Intellectual History 5 (3):455-486.
    The apparently distinct aesthetic values of naturalism and neoclassicism came together in creative tension and fusion in much late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century sculptural theory and practice. The hybrid styles that resulted suited the requirements of the European sculpture-buying public. Both aesthetics, however, created difficulties for the German Idealists who represented a particularly uncompromising strain of Romantic theory. In their view, naturalism was too closely bound to the observable, familiar world, while neoclassicism was too wedded to notions of clearly defined (...)
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  42. Space, Place, and Sculpture: Working with Heidegger. [REVIEW]Paul Crowther - 2007 - Continental Philosophy Review 40 (2):151-170.
    Heidegger’s paper ‘Art and Space’ (1969, Man and world 6. Bloomington: Indiana university Press) is the place where he gives his fullest discussion of a major art medium which is somewhat neglected in aesthetics, namely sculpture. The structure of argument in ‘Art and Space’ is cryptic even by Heidegger’s standards. The small amount of literature tends to focus on the paper’s role within Heidegger’s own oeuvre as an expression of changes in his understanding of space. This is ironic; for Heidegger’s (...)
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  43. Hegel on the Beauty of Sculpture.Stephen Houlgate - 2007 - In Hegel and the Arts. Northwestern University Press.
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  44. Beautiful/Ugly: African and Diaspora Aesthetics.Sarah Nuttall (ed.) - 2007 - Duke University Press.
    In Cameroon, a monumental “statue of liberty” is made from scrap metal. In Congo, a thriving popular music incorporates piercing screams and carnal dances. When these and other instantiations of the aesthetics of Africa and its diasporas are taken into account, how are ideas of beauty reconfigured? Scholars and artists take up that question in this invigorating, lavishly illustrated collection, which includes more than one hundred color images. Exploring sculpture, music, fiction, food, photography, fashion, and urban design, the contributors engage (...)
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  45. Sculpture: Some Observations on Shape and Form From Pygmalion's Creative Dream. [REVIEW]R. Hopkins - 2006 - British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (1):104-106.
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  46. Sculpture and the Sculptural.Erik Koed - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2):147–154.
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  47. Sculpture and the Sculptural.Erik Koed - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2):147 - 154.
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  48. Recent Research on Late Gothic Sculpture in Germany.Gerhard Lutz - 2005 - Speculum 80 (2):494-502.
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  49. Human Reification in the Figurative Painting and Sculpture of the First Half of the 20th Century.Paulina Sztabińska - 2005 - Art Inquiry. Recherches Sur les Arts 7:217-230.
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  50. Painting, Sculpture, Sight, and Touch.Robert Hopkins - 2004 - British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):149-166.
    I raise two questions that bear on the aesthetics of painting and sculpture. First, painting involves perspective, in the sense that everything represented in a painting is represented from a point, or points, within represented space; is sculpture also perspectival? Second, painting is specially linked to vision; is sculpture linked in this way either to vision or to touch? To clarify the link between painting and vision, I describe the perspectival structure of vision. Since this is the same structure we (...)
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