is our reward

Publications in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

June 1, 2020

Picture perception and ordinary perception of real objects differ in several respects. Two of their main differences are: (1) Depicted objects are not perceived as present and (2) We cannot perceive significant spatial shifts as we move with respect to them. Some special illusory pictures escape these visual effects obtained in usual picture perception. First, trompe l’oeil paintings violate (1): the depicted object looks, even momentarily, like a present object. Second, anamorphic paintings violate (2): they lead to appreciate spatial shifts resulting from movement. However, anamorphic paintings do not violate (1): they are still perceived as clearly pictorial, that is, nonpresent. What about the relation between trompe l’oeil paintings and (2)? Do trompe l’oeils allow us to perceive spatial shifts? Nobody has ever focused on this aspect of trompe l’oeil perception. I offer the first speculation about this question. I suggest that, if we follow our most recent theories in philosophy and vision science about the mechanisms of picture perception, then, the only plausible answer, in line with phenomenological intuitions, is that, differently from nonillusory, usual picture perception, and similarly to ordinary perception, trompe l’oeil perception does allow us to perceive spatial shifts resulting from movement. I also discuss the philosophical implications of this claim.

Research field(s)
Arts & Humanities, Visual & Performing Arts, Art Practice, History & Theory