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Title: Seeing as sensing : the structuring of bodily experience in modern pictorial art
Author: Hutchinson, Laura Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 3325
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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Two main arguments are developed in this thesis: first is the claim that our ability to make and understand representational pictures has a natural basis in our capacity to see. In this respect, I have drawn on the ideas of the visual scientist, David Marr and on the theory of representation expounded by John Willats. Second, I argue that the view articulated by these theorists forms a theoretical backdrop for, but does not satisfactorily explain, how pictures may heighten our sense of bodily presence. A central aim of this thesis is therefore to show how this mode of expression is also non-arbitrarily linked to the process of seeing by virtue of its relationship with our visuomotor capacities. In order to give substance to these ideas, I have attempted to weave together knowledge of art history with neuropsychological evidence and phenomenological philosophy. In applying this view to the work of particular artists, I have largely focussed on the oeuvre of Cézanne and the Cubists. However, the general form of this argument is intended to have wider implications, indicating the development of a stylistic tendency in modern art and showing how it differs from that of the Renaissance tradition. In conclusion, my thesis expresses the view that vision – and hence representation – can be divided along two separate lines: one related to a conceptual form of seeing and the other related to a bodily form of perception. The "crisis of representation" in the late nineteenth century is therefore considered indicative of a rejection of the former mode of visuality. Instead, modern artists are said to re-structure the viewing experience so that it shows the reliance of sight on the body, thus permitting the beholder a more active and constitutive role in the perception of art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR