Basically a picture refers to its object through a art and illusion gombrich pdf free download-linguistic two-dimensional scheme. A picture is not writing or notation. Occasionally, picture-like features may be recognised in simple inkblots, accidental stains, peculiar clouds or a glimpse of the moon, but these are special cases, and it is controversial whether they count as genuine instances of depiction. Similarly, sculpture and theatrical performances are sometimes said to depict, but this requires a broad understanding of ‘depict’, as simply designating a form of representation that is not linguistic or notational.
The bulk of studies of depiction however deal only with pictures. While sculpture and performance clearly represent or refer, they do not strictly picture their objects. Objects pictured may be factual or fictional, literal or metaphorical, realistic or idealised and in various combination. Idealised depiction is also termed schematic or stylised and extends to icons, diagrams and maps.
Philosophers, art historians and critics, perceptual psychologists and other researchers in the arts and social sciences have contributed to the debate and many of the most influential contributions have been interdisciplinary. Some key positions are briefly surveyed below. A picture resembles its object in a way a word or sound does not. Resemblance is no guarantee of depiction, obviously. Two pens may resemble one another but do not therefore depict each other.
Indeed, since everything resembles something in some way, mere resemblance as a distinguishing trait is trivial. Moreover, depiction is no guarantee of resemblance to an object. A picture of a dragon does not resemble an actual dragon. So resemblance is not enough. Theories have tried either to set further conditions to the kind of resemblance necessary, or sought ways in which a notational system might allow such resemblance. Others have argued, however, that the concept of resemblance is not exclusively a relational notion, and so that the initial problem is merely apparent.