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Philosophy Aesthetics

Drawing Distinctions

The Varieties of Graphic Expression

by (author) Patrick Maynard

Cornell University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2005
Aesthetics, Drawing, Criticism & Theory
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2005
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"If our procedure is to work steadily in the direction of drawing as fine art, rather than (as we so often find) beginning from examples of such art, where shall we begin? One attractive possibility is to begin at the beginning?not the beginning in prehistory, which is already wonderful art, but with our personal beginnings as children. From there it will be the ambitious project of this book to investigate 'the course of drawing,' from the first marks children make to the greatest graphic arts of different cultures."?from the Introduction

Patrick Maynard surveys the rich and varied practices of drawing, from the earliest markings on cave walls to the complex technical schematics that make the modern world possible, from cartoons and the first efforts of preschoolers to the works of skilled draftspeople and the greatest artists, East and West.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its ubiquity, drawing as such has provoked remarkably little philosophical reflection. Nonphilosophical writing on the topic tends to be divided between specialties such as art history and mechanics. In this engagingly written and well-illustrated book, Maynard reveals the interconnections and developments that unite this fundamental autonomous human activity in all its diversity. Informed by close discussion of work in art history, art criticism, cognitive and developmental psychology, and aesthetics, Drawing Distinctions presents a theoretically sophisticated yet approachable argument that will improve comprehension and appreciation of drawing in its many forms, uses, and meanings.

About the author

Patrick Maynard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of The Engine of Visualization: Thinking through Photography, also from Cornell.

Patrick Maynard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Drawing Distinctions is about drawing, very comprehensively conceived, from children's drawing to the map of the London Underground, and engineering diagrams to drawing by Dürer and Michaelangelo.... It is a remarkable book of great breadth and refined argument.... It should be part of the 'tool-kit' of any art historian or philosopher of art; it should also be obligatory reading for anyone in an art school teaching drawing."

British Journal of Aesthetics

Other titles by Patrick Maynard