Researching Impossible? Models of Artistic Development Reconsidered

Authored by: Anna M. Kindler

Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education

Print publication date:  February  2004
Online publication date:  April  2004

Print ISBN: 9780805849714
eBook ISBN: 9781410609939
Adobe ISBN: 9781135612313

10.4324/9781410609939.ch12

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Abstract

The term child development in art has become a part of the core vocabulary in the field of art education. It has graced book titles, become a name for university courses, and established itself as a focus of a well-defined area of scholarly inquiry that has attracted contributions from the fields of psychology, art, and education. Intuitively, most people have a notion of what this term entails. Images of scribbling children mastering their drawing skills over a long period of time to eventually be able to produce images that clearly communicate the artist' intent readily come to mind. People who are not experts in art often see artistic development in rather simplistic and unilinear ways—as an ability to progress from pictorial production that "ooks like not" ng” to creation of images t"at “look like someth"ng.” Psychologists interested in cognitive underpinnings of pictorial behavior tend to focus on changes in denotation systems, figure differentiation, segmentation and contouring, volumetric and surface representation, and the use of other pictorial devices indicative of advancement in the utilization of graphic symbol systems. Depending on their cultural origins, artists and art educators may point to the improvements in technique and ability to control and manipulate the medium or to an increase in complexity, detail, and expressiveness of images. However, even this apparent diversity of possible indicators or measures of growth seems dramatically limited and seriously insufficient in relation to the vast universe of art, in the wo"ld “after the end of"art” (Danto, 1997) where the definition and potential "or "art” remain open-ended.

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