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Space and Motion Perception in Study of a Dog of Francis Bacon

Kapoula Zoï
Lestocart Louis-José
Language of the article : French
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2006.1299
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We examined differences in pictorial space and motion perception in subjects with various levels of expertise on contemporary art. The study was conducted at the Museum Maillol during the exhibition of paintings from Francis Bacon (Paris 2004). Here we present data from the painting Study of a dog. The painting portrays two orthogonal planes one in depth the other vertical, including the idea of a closed space; such structure is classic similar to that of many Still Life paintings of the 17th century, usually depicting a table with objects (tables servies). Others present objects against a wall (bodegones). Subjects explored the original painting for 1 min and their eye movements were recorded; then they responded to specific questions based on aes­thetic analysis of the painting. The results of the questionnaire were: Only about half of the subjects perceived the vertical plane, but art experts evoked overall sensation of closed space; such sense was scarce in non-experts. It is suggested that eye movements from experts explored a larger surface of the painting, including the vertical cloture plane, lines, angles and other critical points of the spatial construction. Thus eye movements are more in line with the overall sensation evoked by the painting than with conscious perception of the two planes. More important, experts, reported vivid motion perception of the dog and circle at the centre of the painting; such motion perception was scarce in non-experts. The data indicate that sensation and/or perception of pictorial space and motion in experts is closer to the creative process or to the idea they have of this process. Most likely, aesthetic training renders the art expert a better analyzer of pictorial information, his (her) eye mov­ments being guided readily by the visual cues and other technical devices used by the painter to create space and motion.

Pour citer cet article :

Kapoula Zoï, Lestocart Louis-José (2006/2). Space and Motion Perception in Study of a Dog of Francis Bacon. In Gapenne Olivier & Boullier Dominique (Eds), Help Systems: A challenge for cognitive technology, Intellectica, 44, (pp.213-224), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2006.1299.