Richard Wollheim Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1179 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Richard Wollheim

In his well-known work Art and Its Objects, Richard Wollheim discusses his general aesthetic and perception of art. Wollheim deals with central issues germane to the philosophy and understanding of art. In essence his theories attempt to explain the subjectivist view of art and its critical analysis. As such he attempts to overcome certain problematic areas of the subjectivist approach. In order to construct a coherent, crucial and theoretical approach to art, subjectivism must be able to account for the differences and variations in individual perception. In other words, there has to be some standard of correctness and critical veracity. The answer to these problems in subjectivist interpretation forms the basis of the theoretical trajectory that underlines Wollheims' work in Art and Its Objects.

One of the central aspects in his analysis of the artistic object is his rejection of the Presentational theory of art and the 'physical-object hypothesis'. This theory states that artworks cannot be identified with physical objects. In Art and Its Objects his concern is to "combat some of the traditional arguments for denying the physical nature of artworks." (ALCARAZ J. 2004)

Wollheim's criticism of the physical-object hypothesis is aimed at "...providing an account of art experience that includes our perceiving representational and expressive properties as well as aesthetic ones in artworks." (ibid)

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The Presentational Theory is strongly based on the distinction between 'properties that we immediately perceive and those which are mediately perceived or inferred.' (Wollheim, Richard 1980. p 44) This in essence means that artworks cannot be identified with physical objects and entities due to the status given to expressive and representational properties in perception.

Term Paper on Richard Wollheim Assignment

Therefore Wollheim provides an account of art and art perception which "does not require an idealization of our experience of art." (ALCARAZ J. 2004) the main trajectory of Wollheim's argument is to develop a theory of perception which considers art in an inclusive and non-dualistic fashion.

In order to understand the significance of the physical-object hypothesis it is important to the central non-dualistic thrust in Art and its objects, and the aspect which leads to his theory of intentionality, namely the concept of "seeing-in." This view is based on the assumption that we have the innate ability to see representationally. By this is meant that we see an object in the paint that marks a surface rather than alternatively seeing marks or seeing an object." (Alpers Svetlana, 2004)

In order to counter the various arguments of the physical-object hypothesis, Wollheim states that we must take into account this special representational ability when dealing with artworks. This is the ability of seeing-in which 'allows us to have perceptual experiences of things that are not present to the senses'. (Wollheim, Richard 1980. p 217) Fundamentally, and simplistically, the theory of seeing-in posits the view that the rejections and arguments against physicality in art are based on a flawed view of the artistic perception. This theory also refers to the important aspect of 'twofoldness', which is essentially a non-dualistic view of artistic apperception. Twofoldness refers to the fact that "we can simultaneously pay attention to the configurational aspect of a painting (the marked surface) and to the recognition aspect (the depicted subject in it)." (ALCARAZ J. 2004)

In other words, twofoldness allows for simultaneous attention in terms of configurational and the recognitional fields. Therefore Wollheim posits a view of artistic perception which is "the phenomenology that defines the experience 'twofoldness'." (Hyman, John, 2003)

In his work, Painting as an Art, Wollheim explains this idea of twofoldness.

Seeing-in is a distinct… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Richard Wollheim" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Richard Wollheim.  (2005, April 24).  Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Richard Wollheim."  24 April 2005.  Web.  18 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Richard Wollheim."  April 24, 2005.  Accessed September 18, 2020.