Art (frame-of-mind) History

As I’ve discussed before, I think that our culture has a perspective on drawing that is oriented to an “Art frame-of-mind,” which is opposition to a “Language frame-of-mind.” While Language stresses communality and shared signs, the main threads in the Art frame-of-mind are Iconicity, Individuality, and Innovation. These are cultural orientations in the “West” that impact the way we treat drawing and the way has developed in our culture.

Now, I’m not an art historian, nor do I really want to devote a great deal of my own time to researching it, but the thought did arise of how the Art threads arose. Medieval drawing seemed fairly uniform in terms of style – more conventionality than iconicity or individuality. Where did the change occur?

My speculation would place Iconicity starting around the Renaissance period, along with the growth toward accurate anatomy and perspective. It was a period of learning about nature instead of dogma, and so drawing was culled from perception of nature. I’m guessing that the Individuality and Innovation threads arose in response to this Iconicity, especially with more modern movements like impressionism and abstract art.

But, all this is guesswork. If anyone with more drive, knowledge, or resources for these issues wants to confirm or squash these speculations, I’d be first in line to read up on them.


  • I’m no expert either (art history was one of my worst subjects) but I’d say Romanticism might be the turning point. That’s where individuality in the arts really came to the fore on a larger scale.

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