Close Looking and Conviction

Art History 40:156-77 (2017)
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Abstract

This article analyses the processes involved in description and ‘close looking’ in relation to works of art. Aspects discussed include the often-unspoken appeal to a limited form of artistic intention, the use of ‘context’, and the way that pictorial features are manipulated in the service of interpretation. Ultimately the article shows how great a role the writers’ overarching assumptions (such as about the history of modernism) are likely to play in apparently object-focused analysis, and as such why we should be suspicious of claims that artworks might ‘determine their own interpretation’.

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Sam Rose
University of St. Andrews

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