Children’s Sensitivity to Aesthetic Properties of Line Drawings

  • Ellen Winner
  • Paula Blank
  • Christine Massey
  • Howard Gardner

Abstract

When psychologists reflect about children’s drawings, they focus primarily on such “non-aesthetic”, cognitive aspects as representational ability, sequencing, planning strategies or accuracy in copying (e.g. Butterworth, 1977; Freeman, 1980; Goodnow, 1977; Piaget and Inhelder, 1967). When artists reflect about children’s drawings, they customarily focus on very different facets. In particular, artists are apt to search for aesthetic properties in early drawings. The child is often thought to be a natural artist, and adult artists often point to the value of the innocent eye - of seeing with the freshness of vision of the child. Paul Klee believed that the origins of art were to be found in the nursery (Gardner, 1980), and Pablo Picasso commented, “Once I drew like Raphael, but it has taken me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like children” (de Meredieu, 1974, p.13). Clearly artists and psychologists are looking at children’s drawings through different lenses.

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References

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Winner
    • 1
  • Paula Blank
    • 1
  • Christine Massey
    • 1
  • Howard Gardner
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston College, Harvard Project ZeroBoston Veterans Administration HospitalUSA

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