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September 1, 1973
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v2.1 Reference

Art, Perception, and Reality

In Art, Perception, and Reality three eminent scholars explore questions relating to the nature of representation in art. Art historian E. H. Gombrich asks how we recognize likeness—in portraits or caricatures for instance—and concludes that we do so by empathy. Psychologist Julian Hochberg rejects Gombrich's argument, suggesting instead that the expectations aroused in the scanning processes of visual perception account for recognition of likeness. Finally, philosopher Max black argues that no criteria have been established for defining conditions of representation and concludes that representation is a "cluster concept."

About the Authors

E. H. Gombrich is director emeritus of the Warburg Institute at the University of London. Julian Hochberg is professor of psychology at Columbia University. Max Black was Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters at Cornell University.


"The approach of the book is very original because it presents itself as the interdisiplinary convergance of three adopted points of view, respectively, the history of art, the psychology, and the philosophy."

- Pierre Somville - Revue Philosophique

"Bringing together essays by an art historian, a psychologist, and a philosopher, is an important event, for it marks a growing interest in the suggestive but very problematic relation between our experience of art and our perception of the visual world."

- Mark Sagoff - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

"Power to provoke thought."

- Michael Rosenthal - Art, Perception, and Reality

"Stimulating and erudite. It considers the problem of likeness between a portrait and the sitter, and the role of empathy, a much neglected aspect in the nature of creating art."

- J.B.Deregowski - New Society

"This useful book contains three significant essays on the subject by an art historian, a psychologist, and a philosopher. Hochberg's theoretical demolition of the theory of empathy in relation to viewing art objects is of exceptional value."

- Peter Fuller - Arts Review

"The great achievement of this book is that it broadens the reader's perspective on the problems of representation, whatever disipline the reader considers his own. From that broadened perspective is likely to come more fruitful consideration of this set of problems."

- Lorraine A. Ozar - The Modern Schoolman

"Three informed opinions on the classical question of representation... Provocative."

Johns Hopkins University Press
Thalheimer Lectures
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9780801815522 : art-perception-and-reality-gombrich-hochberg-black
Paperback / softback
142 Pages
$31.00 USD

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