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Article Defining Pictorial Style: Lessons from Linguistics and Computer Graphics

Author(s): John Willats, Fr├ędo Durand.
Article: Axiomathes, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2005.
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Abstract:
A definition of pictorial style in terms of distinctive combinations of pictorial devices characteristic of a particular culture or period or the work of an individual artist is proposed. Four kinds of pictorial structure are described: the drawing (spatial) systems, the denotation systems, the mark systems and the attributes systems. Three pictures by Poussin, Rembrandt and the Achilles painter are then analyzed in terms of these four systems. It is suggested that descriptions of style of this kind can be thought of as hypotheses about the nature of the implicit rules that generated the pictures to which they were applied. Examples of ways of testing this suggestion by embodying such stylistic rules in computer graphics programs are given.

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