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Psychology of Art History Essay Example

Art psychology is the branch of psychology studying the process of perception and creation of works of art; its subject is properties and conditions of a person causing creation, perception of art values, and influence of these values on the ability to live. It is engaged in studying of problems of art creativity and the personality of the artist, perception of art works, features of structure of art works.

The art psychology developed under the influence of the psychologism deducing the form of art works and their dependence on features of the individual consciousness and antipsychologism (formal school, structuralism) rejecting dependence of these products on the mental activity of a subject.

The psychology of art starts with representations of the primacy of art as a special historically developing system in relation to individually-personal properties of persons creating it. Using concrete-scientific methods like supervision, experiment, the analysis of products of activity, interviewing, a biographic method, and other, it investigates processes of art creativity from the perspective of abilities and character of the person, his/her intelligence and emotions, motivators, interpersonal relations.

As in art, the subject spiritually-practically masters the world by means of images. The art psychology allocates mechanisms of their formation, going from experience and knowledge of the person, validity in the system of other elements of culture, tracing laws of transformation of this experience through the generation of art creations. The brainwork originality is thus revealed in its comparison with operating by those sensual and intellectual images that will organize behavior of the subject beyond the art sphere. Such comparison allows explaining uniqueness of certificates of art knowledge, their difference from other forms of display.

The term specifies “creativity” both in the activity of the person and in the values created by it, which in fact become the culture facts. As aloof from a life of the subject, his/her searches and thoughts, these values are wrongful to be explained in psychology categories as not man-made nature. The mountain top is capable to inspire creation of a picture, a poem, or geological work. However, in all cases, being created, these products become a psychology subject to larger extent than this top. In terms of the scientifically-psychological analysis, something is opened through absolutely other ways of its perception, action, motives, interpersonal communications, and structure meant as art or as concepts of sciences about the Earth. The effect of these certificates and communications is embodied in the art and scientific creations that are not dependent on the mental organization of the subject.

Any treatment of these values, which is settled by representations of the individual consciousness, inevitably leads to psychologism that is the orientation, which also destroys the basis of studying culture and psychology.

The culture is based on the socio-historical beginnings. Reduction of its forms to psychodynamics, whether it be associations of ideas, emotional complexes, imagination, or intuition certificates, interferes with penetration into structure and own mechanisms of the development of these forms. Attempts to find their roots and transformation laws in the internal world of the person, his/her experiences, and reactions have been repeatedly undertaken. There have been various so-called psychological schools outside of the psychology: in linguistics, sociology, literary criticism, jurisprudence, logics.

In all cases, these schools saw an external projection of certificates of consciousness or failed to realize inclinations in social and historical formations, aspiring to present business in such a manner that these forces constituted structures of language, art, legal, or other social norms and relations. The keen interest in the person as a creator of culture has appeared, but it is deprived of its creation of independent value, dissolving the subject intensely in “a boiling copper” of its emotions, images-symbols, and fantasies.

The aforementioned psychological schools have lost their influence because of randomness and unsteadiness of results of their program installations. Their powerlessness before problems of cultural history and its phenomena has defined the sharp criticism of psychologism in various sections of humanitarian knowledge.

However, the psychologism is not less dangerous to the psychology. The matter is that the research of its phenomena only then gets a scientific advantage when they are put in communication with realities independent of them. The scientific knowledge is deterministic knowledge by nature. It is directed at the search of the variables, naturally making an observable effect. These variables and the physical or biological stimulus regulate mental processes have, the explanation of the latter has gotten a truly deterministic character. The psychology has become a science. These processes corresponded with finding out relations of the subject to the physical or biological world and to culture; afterwards, when they began being substituted with the sizes borrowed from the sphere of a sincere life of the same subject (individual or the image of “national spirit”), the prospect of working out of the problems of psychology from deterministic positions was lost. It appeared to have derivatives only from the mental sphere. For this reason, psychologism, which seems to glorify psychology, transforming it into a science of sciences as the basis of knowledge of all human creations, inherently amazes its main component that is a determinism principle.

The great writers, who have comprehended the dialectics of soul, are usually called great psychologists. However, they showed it in a special form of art-shaped reconstruction. A scientific way of knowledge of mentality is other by nature in terms of tools by means of which it allocates people with the power to rule over the phenomena and in terms of social practice. William Stern’s known aphorism is the following: “The drawn cow cannot be milked”. A science, mastering natural communication of the phenomena, opens a possibility to operate them, to change their course, etc. Though psychology is far from physics or molecular biology in this plan, power of these disciplines lies in the same general principles of thinking (first of all, a determinism principle), which distribution area of the mental sphere has transformed it into a subject of experimentally-theoretical knowledge (unlike ordinary consciousness, common sense), arts, religions, philosophies, etc. The science is one of the culture components as a complete formation. Therefore, it demands research in the whole system, finding out its mutual relations with other components. However, as an indispensable condition of the productive analysis of these mutual relations, its irreplaceable role serves in the general ensemble of these components. What the hand of the person has touched bears prints of his/her life. If their representativeness in the monuments of culture is considered as a subject of a psychological science, its area becomes immense and its specificity is absolutely lost. Its maintenance is sprayed in myths and popular wisdom, political treatises and creations of the art geniuses. In such understanding of its subject, there appears something idle as the mentioned generations of culture have played an incomparably significant role, even more so than elements of the scientific knowledge of behavior and consciousness.

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Both art style and scientific paradigm are equally determined by culture factors. How these factors have installed the intimate psychological mechanisms, which have generated a creative product, is impossible to judge, though possible to peer into it. After this entire product is reproduced in the form of an artistic image or scientific concept, the validity is independent of the subject. Its in-detail-reformative spiritual activity of a concrete subject is called the creativity psychology.

There arises a question whether it is possible to overcome split of persons and cultures, having correlated these two numbers of terms. In psychology with reference to art, such an attempt has been undertaken by L. S. Vygotsky. Having rejected (in literary criticism) psychologism schools and antipsychologism of the formal school, he has allocated aesthetic reaction, which is created by a special construction of the literary text as a basic unit of the psychology of art. He treated it, on the one hand, as “pure” reaction (though also mental, but not deduced of images, experiences, inclinations, and other components of true life of the individual), and on the other hand, as presented in the monument of art (which cannot be reduced to “convergence of receptions” as formalists supposed). In his opinion, it is necessary “to study pure and impersonal psychology of art regardless to the author and the reader”.

The determinism includes causality as a set of the circumstances that are previous in time to a consequence and cause it, but it is not settled by this explanatory principle as there are also other forms of a determinism, namely: system (dependence of separate components of a system on properties of the whole), feedback (the consequence influences the reason, which has caused it), likelihood or stochastic determinism (with the identical reasons there are various consequences in the known limits, subordinated to the statistical regularity), etc.

Psychology has operated subjects. Reconstruction of this way becomes inadequate when not only scientific data on the person are mentioned in annals of history of psychology, but also images of mythology, religion, art, etc. Certainly, the data about the general socio cultural context, in which scientifically-psychological ideas arise and work, by all means should be taken into consideration during any attempt to recreate their evolution. Another mixture of those representations about the mentality developed in the tideway of the scientific, rational, empirically supervised, and deterministic explanations with their reflection in art or religious consciousness, in legal and other social norms. The psychology history should not be mixed with the historical psychology that is a branch of knowledge about its own history.

Transformation categorical structures have changed the prospects of search for factors of occurrence of new mental products. In the past, during an epoch of associationism domination, these factors were localized within consciousness (soul) as the closed system, which bowels radiate creative impulses. Now, the adaptive behavior has taken up a role of a substratum of these impulses. Construction of new mental actions by an organism occasionally appeared to be successful in the behaviorism selection (“trial and error method”). The confirmed principle of self-organization of mental structures (Gestalt) has become another influential direction of gestaltism. Occurrence of the new direction was treated as the proof of their instant reorganization (insight). Influence of motivator on behavior has set the basic vector for the Freud’s research program where the shape of the all-consuming sexual inclination as one of the ways of disposal to serve creativity has been given a specified role. In all these concepts, there has been a general orientation to a certain deterministic way as there are mental products, which were not present in former experience of the individual. This way, specified concepts about tests and errors, insight, catharsis are still widely applied to explain a psychological form of creativity on purpose.

This value could be only explained as the greatest activity in terms of interpretation of the culture products by action of latent mental forces, as the Freudism stipulates, but it has never entered the mechanism of creativity as its regulator, from within reconstructing the mental organization of the subject. Limitation of the representations constructed under specified schemes stems from this as they could not be effectively applied to the creativity analysis in the psychology, to its theories, opening “flashes of the genius” in this area of knowledge.

Sporadic attempts to track the new psychological concept has arisen have shown hopelessness of this idea. An attempt of psychoanalysis followers to interpret genesis of this doctrine in its own terms, among which the main place is occupied by the terms connected with psychosexual relations in the micro society, has been instructive in particular. As it is known, before creating the doctrine Freud was reputed as a well-known neurologist and outlined the project of the analysis of mental activity in concepts of nervous processes like excitation and braking. Then, he radically changed the direction of his research, having refused from the reference to physiological determinants. The question thus arises why there happened such a radical shift in his research.

Freud’s main biographer and his known follower in England E. Johns explains the shift with the death of the father, which allowed Freud to get rid of a complex created, according to the psychoanalytic version, because of a role of the father in the unconscious life of a neurotic person. Thanks to it, he put forward the formula about “an Oedipus complex”, which became the basic mythologeme of the psychoanalysis. Meanwhile, reference to socio cultural situations in the West on a boundary of two centuries testifies what exactly it is necessary to search for to find the roots. Certainly, the personal beginnings, peripetias of the scientist’s life are the integral components of the integrated process of new knowledge generation. However, for the adequate reconstruction of this beginning, it is necessary to develop schemes, which would allow finding a common language with logics and creativity sociology. M. Wertheimer in conversations with A. Einstein interpreted opening of the great physicist, using views on reorganizations, recentralization, and other transformations of structures of individual consciousness accepted by the gestaltism. However, it is not very convincing to explain means of the gestaltism in order to explain the origin and construction of the theory of relativity. Wertheimer could not correlate the creative process with a creative product.

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However, the instructions of processes by themselves do not offer enough creativity to define a subject of the psychological research. The concept about the process has long since arisen in descriptions of ways offered by creators of the science (beginning from A. Poincare): preparation, plan maturing (incubation), inspiration, and end (a substantiation of reliability of the extracted result, its criticism, checking, etc.). In this dynamics, the conscious and rational moments and unconscious, intuitive (incubation, inspiration) ones are treated as the central link of creativity. Phenomena of intuitive guesses and decisions, non-verbal processes, unpredictable couplings of ideas are not irrational fictions. They are a reality proved by direct experience of a creative person. Nevertheless, the scientific psychology has no right to transform a phenomenon in a determinant, to accept the certificate of intuition or non-realized movement of thought for the final reason of the model, which has arisen in consciousness materialized in the text or other subject of culture. Sub-consciousness or intuition should become a postulate of a problem, working out of which demands adequate categorical devices.

If efficiency of influence of creativity psychology on social practice is still extremely insignificant and inadequate to put efforts into the reasons hidden in limitation of the methodological potential of the theoretical schemes applied in the field of researches. Without introduction of principles of historicism, socio cultural determinism, and system treatment of the subject corresponding to these principles in this area, it is doomed to experience stagnation.

The system approach to the creativity process is three-pronged, integrating its components: subject, social, and personal ones. With reference to scientific creativity as an integrated unit, the research program acts. It is born in the mental organization of the subject as a display of inquiries of objective logic in terms of the development of knowledge. These inquiries of the creative person are appealed by means of categorical grids presented to the cognitive-motivational structure.

Studying how there is new knowledge in the intellectual device of the subject of creativity demands to fall outside the limits of the antinomy “logic – intuition”. It is necessary to allocate those individual images-schemes thanks to which the semantic space of the scientist creates the research program. The originality is defined by integration of “figurative” (from Z. Piaget’s terminology), operational (as the scheme represents not only a reality fragment, but also receptions of its studying), and detail-logic elements (the scheme serves as the intermediary between objective inquiries of the science and their refraction in the private world of the subject).

Scientific and technical progress, demanding a high level of creativity from the psychological science, gives special importance to its two research orientations. Both are caused by the center of modern manufacture (not only material, but also spiritual), i.e. dialogue between a person and a computer. Social practice demands to address the psychological problems of the computerization of the doctrine, work, and dialogue. The computer cannot become the subject of these processes. There will always be a person in this process. With transfer of some its information functions to electronic devices, the role of untranslatable components becomes formal-logic “microprocessor” language of the activity, generating new cultural values, including increase of these technical devices. In this historical situation, the creativity psychology becomes the major theme of scientific creativity in the psychology. However, from science it demands new research programs, new theoretical schemes integrated in the core of psychological knowledge, theoretical models, and empirical tools like personal, social, and in detail-creative elements of the dialogue of a person with the world.

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