Susan Feagin

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article identifies four categories of issues that arise in relation to painting as an art. The first concerns the ontological status of paintings as physical objects: the importance of different types of paint and their material support, the values contingent on them, and the conservation and restoration issues that arise because anything physical is subject to decay. The second category concerns the perception and valuation of visual form and attempts to define painting's nature and value in purely visual terms. The third explores ontological and interpretive issues raised by the different forms painting takes in different cultures. The fourth concerns personal agency and autonomy in relation to personal expression, to representations of individuals and cultural practices within painting, and to ties between painting's epistemic potential and its social status.

Keywords: painting; ontology; physical objects; visual form; personal agency; cultural practices; social status

Article.  9970 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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