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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Design

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 PM

A Theory of Pure Design

by Denman Waldo Ross

Lecturer on the Theory of Design
in Harvard University

Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907

PREFACE

"My purpose in this book is to elucidate, so far as I can, the
principles which underlie the practice of drawing and painting
as a Fine Art.  Art is generally regarded as the expression of
feelings and emotions which have no explanation except per-
haps in such a word as inspiration , which is expletive rather
than explanatory
.  Art is regarded as the one activity of man
which has no scientific basis, and the appreciation of Art is
said to be a matter of taste in which no two persons can be
expected to agree.  It is my purpose in this book to show how,
in the practice of Art, as in all other practices, we use certain
terms and follow certain principles.  Being defined and ex-
plained, these terms and principles may be known and under-
stood by everybody.  They are, so to speak, the form of the
language
.

While an understanding of the terms and principles of Art
will not, in itself, enable any one to produce important works,
such works are not produced without it.  It must be understood,
however, that the understanding of terms and principles
is not, necessarily, an understanding in words.  It may lie in
technical processes and in visual images and may never rise,
or shall I say fall, to any formulation in words, either spoken
or written."

_________________________________________________

One of Ross's protégés, Jack Levine, died yesterday at 95. He
is said to have remarked, "I want to paint with the dead ones."

Related material: This journal on the day of Levine's death
and on the day of Martin Gardner's death.

The latter post has an image illustrating Ross's remarks on
formulations in words—
 

Image-- The Case of the Lyche Gate Asterisk

For further details, see Finale, Darkness Visible, and Packed.

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