Philosophy 95 (3):239 - 260 (2020)

Jack Shardlow
University of Warwick
This paper is concerned with the senses in which paintings do and do not depict various temporal phenomena, such as motion, stasis and duration. I begin by explaining the popular – though not uncontroversial – assumption that depiction, as a pictorial form of representation, is a matter of an experiential resemblance between the pictorial representation and that which it is a depiction of. Given this assumption, I illustrate a tension between two plausible claims: that paintings do not depict motion in the sense that video recordings do, and that paintings do not merely depict objects but may depict those objects as engaged in various activities, such as moving. To resolve the tension, I demonstrate that we need to recognise an ambiguity in talk of the appearance of motion, and distinguish between the depiction of motion and the depiction of an object as an object that is moving. Armed with this distinction, I argue that there is an important sense in which paintings depict neither motion, duration, nor – perhaps more controversially – stasis.
Keywords Depiction  Time  Temporal Experience  Motion and change
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