chapter  7
25 Pages

Artists and viewers: Components of perception andcognition in visual art

How is a visual artist to depict a cup, car, flower, slice of orange, chair, bed, rug, or a stove, given the ever changing perspective views under which these objects are seen? Regardless of the artist's mind or intentions, pictures are meant to communicate with others, and the observer has to respond somehow to what is being shown. What distance to adopt, what type of scaling, what colors, shadows, or texture? For example, despite the fact that in the real world we typically see objects from various perspective views, we know what they are conceptually, with or without the aid of language. Because of perceptual constancy, size and orientation end up not interfering with our basic knowledge of the shape of things in the world. A cup is a cup even though we repeatedly view it from the side, top, 30 degree, or 90 degree angles. How we define pictorial realism is a philosophical question whose answer lies partly in perceptual constancy.