Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation

by E. H. Gombrich

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Find several of John Constable’s paintings. Demonstrate your understanding of Gombrich’s analysis by applying his theories to the paintings you find. Write a short paper detailing what you note.

Research Sir Karl R. Popper’s ‘‘searchlight theory.’’ How does this theory coincide with Gombrich’s approach to art?

Find examples of several optical illusions. Using Gombrich’s theories, explain why the illusions deceive the eye. What accounts for our ‘‘reading’’ of the image in the way we do?

Read ‘‘Illusion and Reality,’’ the first chapter of Leonard Shlain’s Art and Physics (1991). Compare and contrast the ideas you find in this chapter with the ideas you find in Art and Illusion.

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