Painting, sculpture, sight, and touch

British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):149-166 (2004)
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Abstract

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 find in painting, the link is that painting manifests the perspective of vision. Touch is also perspectival, but the perspective involved is different from that in vision. Thus we can answer my second question, concerning the relations of the art forms to the senses, by addressing the first, concerning the role of perspective in sculpture. I argue that sculpture exhibits neither the perspectival structure of vision, nor that of touch. It is not perspectival, and it is not linked to either sense as painting is to vision. I close by considering the aesthetic significance of these conclusions

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Robert Hopkins
New York University

Citations of this work

Why, as responsible for figurativity, seeing-in can only be inflected seeing-in.Alberto Voltolini - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (3):651-667.
Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Sculpture.Sherri Irvin - 2020 - In Kristin Gjesdal, Fred Rush & Ingvild Torsen (eds.), Philosophy of Sculpture: Historical Problems, Contemporary Approaches. Routledge. pp. 165-186.
Aesthetic opacity.Emanuele Arielli - 2017 - Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics.

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