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Parts and Wholes in Pictorial Art

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The part–whole relation is fundamental to the Gestalt description of visual awareness; therefore one expects it to play an equally important role in the visual arts. The formal science of parthood relations is mereology. Thus, it is natural to attempt to construct a mereological account of the structure of works of the visual arts. However, I argue in this paper that such a program is headed for failure. There are various reasons for this, perhaps the more interesting being that one deals with parallel pictorial worlds.

Affiliations: 1: 2Psychologische Functieleer, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Utrecht University, Martinus J. Langeveldgebouw, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands ; 2: 1Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

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