Real likenesses: representation in paintings, photographs, and novels

Morris, Michael (2019) Real likenesses: representation in paintings, photographs, and novels. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (Accepted)

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This book offers a new approach to artistic representation, worked out in detail for the cases of paintings, photographs, and novels. It presents a paradox in the case of each of the three art forms, and argues for a thesis (the Non-Distraction Thesis) about the relation between medium and content. It then argues that the dominant theories of representation in the three art forms are incompatible with that thesis. Fresh light is thereby cast on familiar topics: the supposed phenomenon of ‘twofoldedness’, in the case of paintings; the alleged ‘transparency’ of photographs; the ‘paradox of fiction’, in the case of novels. Illusionistic theories, ‘seeing-in’ theories, imagination theories, and resemblance theories are the target in the case of paintings; theories which take photographs to be transparent pictures, in the case of photographs; and imagination theories, abstract-artefact theories, and theories which mix the two, in the case of novels.
Having raised problems for existing theories in these domains, the book proposes for each art form a novel way of understanding the relation between the medium and the content. The new model is developed first for the case of paintings: it is proposed that the face you see in a painting is a real thing made of paint, which is, in a way, a face, in virtue of resembling a real face. This model is then applied to photographs, and to novels, with care taken to explain in each case how a suitable object might be constructed in the medium.

Item Type: Book
Keywords: Representation; painting; photograph; fiction; twofoldedness; medium; content; imagination; illusion; transparency
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy > BD095 Metaphysics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy > BD300 Ontology Including being, the soul, life, death
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
T Technology > TR Photography
Depositing User: Michael Morris
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 14:57
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2019 14:57
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