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The Influence of Titles on How Paintings Are Seen

Margery B. Franklin, Robert C. Becklen and Charlotte L. Doyle
Leonardo
Vol. 26, No. 2 (1993), pp. 103-108
Published by: MIT Press
DOI: 10.2307/1575894
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1575894
Page Count: 6
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The Influence of Titles on How Paintings Are Seen
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Abstract

Recently, aestheticians have become interested in questions about title/artwork relations. Following a brief discussion of issues, the authors report on a study that explored how viewers responded to a painting under different titling conditions. Viewing the projected image of a painting while hearing the title spoken, individual subjects talked about what they were seeing and used a flashlight pointer to indicate where they were looking. In this study, the change of titles affected individuals' interpretive readings, as determined by their descriptions of the paintings, but not where they looked. These findings suggest that with change of title, spatial organization may remain relatively stable while other aspects of the person's experience of the painting change. The authors suggest that the findings of this kind of research bear on broader theoretical issues of word/image relations as well as questions about how to display art in public places.

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