Philosophers and artists consider the relevance of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy for understanding art and aesthetic experience.
This collection of essays brings together diverse but interrelated perspectives on art and perception based on the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Although Merleau-Ponty focused almost exclusively on painting in his writings on aesthetics, this collection also considers poetry, literary works, theater, and relationships between art and science. In addition to philosophers, the contributors include a painter, a photographer, a musicologist, and an architect. This widened scope offers important philosophical benefits, testing and providing evidence for the empirical applicability of Merleau-Ponty’s aesthetic writings. The central argument is that for Merleau-Ponty the account of perception is also an account of art and vice versa. In the philosopher’s writings, art and perception thus intertwine necessarily rather than contingently such that they can only be distinguished by abstraction. As a result, his account of perception and his account of art are organic, interdependent, and dynamic. The contributors examine various aspects of this intertwining across different artistic media, each ingeniously revealing an original perspective on this intertwining.