Spiritualia sub metaphoris corporalium?

Description in the Visual Arts

  • Götz Pochat


A verbal description is always related to a corresponding cognitive frame. This is also true of the visual arts, where the mode of representation is, furthermore, subjected to conventional codes of representation to which the recipient is expected to respond. With regard to the mimetic arts, the recipient will succumb to illusion by way of projection, i. e. imagination. As phenomenology has shown, this process of conjuring up the (absent) signified object involves the viewer’s identification, an emotional response, and recollection. The question of why certain (art-historical) periods feature specific motifs and why the public has been willing to accept them is a sociological one. Yet, it has to some extent been answered by iconology, which deals with cognitive cultural frames, while the qualitative aspect of depiction reflects the transformation of an object perceived and conjured up in the artist’s mind. Description is always the outcome of a mental process, yet in contrast to courses triggered by verbal description and communication, the mode of representation in the visual arts remains more closely related to deeper, even unconscious strata of the brain, generating emotions and associations. A description, verbal or pictorial, oscillates between the reference and the referent (the cognitive frame) as encompassed by the mind.
elo 17, 2016
Pochat, G. (2016). Spiritualia sub metaphoris corporalium? Description in the Visual Arts. Tahiti, 6(4). Noudettu osoitteesta https://tahiti.journal.fi/article/view/85637