research product . 2015

Paintings and emotion: A nonemotivist reevaluation

Konečni Vladimir J.;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 2015
  • Publisher: Theoria, Beograd
  • Country: Serbia
Arguments are presented that paintings are unable to induce basic psychobiological emotions because they do not powerfully engage with spectators’ intimate associative-memory systems. However, it is suggested that art installations containing properties subsumable under the classical concept of the sublime (physical grandeur, rarity, novelty, an association with beauty and with biologically significant outcomes), are capable of producing a memorable, though non-basic, emotional response, aesthetic awe - the peak aesthetic response as defined in Aesthetic Trinity Theory (Konečni, 2005, 2011). A skeptical view is presented of emotivism, defined as a proclivity for excessive insertion of “emotion” into scientific and lay accounts of behavior, especially regarding the arts: The loci in the domain of paintings are specified in which emotion has often been unjustifiably implicated. Psychobiological and contrasting viewpoints on emotion are outlined. Several possible routes from paintings’ attributes to viewers’ emotions are found to be analytically indefensible and psychologically improbable. Implications for empirical aesthetics are examined.
free text keywords: paintings, emotion, emotivism, emotion in painting, Aesthetic Trinity Theory, aesthetic awe, installations
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