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What Is the Essence of Method Of “Making and Matching” Described in Art and Illusion by Ernst H. Gombrich?
In “Art and Illusion”, Gombrich raises the following key question: why different nations, during different ages have such different representations of the visible world? Using philosophy, science and psychology, Gombrich aims at addressing this essential question all along his book.
Gombrich points out that, once established, the “realistic” mode is continuously polished by the idea that “making comes before matching”. As the author recalls, the artist starts trialing his creative product in opposition to the observable world and attempts to reliably represent that reality (Gombrich, 1977). In other words, one has to know what might be said so as to hear what was said.
The concept became known as “making and matching” and is based on the notion of “schemata”, which suggests that the artist doesn’t begin with a visual representation, but with his own concept or idea (Wollheim, 1973). Also, the author points out that the artist adapts this idea to fit, as much as possible, the subject of the artwork: a person, scenery, or an object.
Hence, the well known sequence of Greek art regarding “naturalism” is confirmed: each generation of artists fits the noticeable world more appropriate than their precursors.
In conclusion, “making and matching”, the epitome of “Art and Illusion”, suggests that artists, before they even think of reproducing what they see in front of their eyes, take mental shots by manipulating inherited “schemata” that appoints the surrounding reality by the convention force.
- Bryson, N. 1983. Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze. London, Macmillan.
- Gombrich, E.H. 1977. Art and Illusion: a Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. London, Phaidon. 5th edition.
- Wollheim, R. 1973. On Art and the Mind: Essays and Lectures. London, Allen Lane.