Eye, Memory, Hand

The nineteenth-century debate about the role of visual memory in the creative process

Petra ten-Doesschate Chu

This book contains the text of the sixteenth Gerson Lecture and is published by the University of Groningen and distributed by Primavera Press.
The nineteenth century witnessed a renewed interest on the part of artists, philosophers, and those specialized in the new discipline of perceptual psychology, in the role played by memory in the creative process. Chiefly during the second half of the nineteenth century, this led to a lively discourse on the benefits and drawbacks of artists’ reliance on visual, and to a lesser extent motoric, memory in art making. As the debate on the value of memory unfolded, different artistic preoccupations rose to the surface. Individual artists, critics, philosophers, and psychologists developed a variety of points of view, which they expressed both orally and in writing. Of those who assigned a positive role to memory, some saw it as a way to represent reality more convincingly, especially in the case of subjects that involved movement and other fleeting effects. Others found in it a means of creating synthesized images of reality or, relatedly, abstractions and exaggerations, such as caricatures, while a third group considered visual memory the penultimate source of imagination.

2011, 40 pag., 12 ill. bw, pb
ISBN 978-90-801691-0-4

€8.50

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