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(2018) Philosophy in the condition of modernism, Dordrecht, Springer.

Pictorial decorum

Jonathan Gilmore

pp. 355-384

In this essay I ask what it means to judge a work of art as failing to depict its subject in an appropriate way. I refer to such a judgment, when applied to visual art, as one of pictorial decorum, a notion that draws on ancient and early modern ideas of literary or poetic decorum. At play are two kinds of normativity. One intuition, of ancient vintage, is that a work of art may qua art be appropriately subject to general standards of evaluation (moral, cognitive, utilitarian, aesthetic, and so on) that we apply to non-art objects, states of affairs, events and persons generally. The other—apparently contrary—intuition is associated with modern conceptions of the fine arts: works of art are appropriately evaluated qua art only with reference to a specific kind of value, that is, artistic value. These intuitions are widely held to be incompatible. What I want to show is that far from being inconsistent, the former intuition can be preserved and defended in a framework supplied by the latter.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-77078-9_16

Full citation:

Gilmore, J. (2018)., Pictorial decorum, in A. Falcato & A. Cardiello (eds.), Philosophy in the condition of modernism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 355-384.

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