From Artistic Creation to Aesthetic Reception: The Mirror Model of Art

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The fields of creativity and aesthetics remain relatively separate in spite of the great advances made in the psychology of the arts over the past century. This divide has limited our understanding of the experience of art. Here I present a model that describes the interface between the two sides: art-making and art-viewing. According to the model, aesthetic experiences mirror the art-making process in the sense that the early stages of aesthetic processing correspond to the final stages of art-making; conversely, the late stages of aesthetic processing correspond to the initial stages of art-making. Considering the aesthetic processing of an artwork in terms of the artistic processes that produced it allows for an account of the experience of art in its fullest manifestation: one that could be selfreferential, pleasurable, challenging, or even repulsive. To provide a background, a review of relevant research on creativity and aesthetics is provided. The theoretical and practical implications of the mirror model are also discussed.



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