Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Eye-Movements and the Aesthetics of Visual Form
Person:
Stratton, George M.
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit4487/16/
Eye-Movements and the Aesthetics of Visual Form. 351 
of course clear that spatially the two are quite unlike. The ocular 
path is irregular, varying and even angular, while the line perceived 
during this movement may be continuous and smooth. But in addition 
to this, the eye’s movement is, in its temporal character, also at 
striking variance with the movement suggested by a graceful curve. 
A pleasing curve suggests temporal continuity of movement, as well 
as spatial; but it seems absolutely impossible for the eye to follow 
a given curve without a series of jerks and pauses, of short rapid 
flights and sudden interruptions which have no likeness whatever to 
the uninterrupted movement we attribute to a graceful curve. In 
so far as there is any justice in Spencer’s claim that grace of line 
is enjoyable because of the sense it gives of economy in the ex¬ 
penditure of force '), the economy here felt is certainly not found in 
the eye’s own motion. The real feeling of the character of a visual 
form thus seems to be developed in opposition to what the muscular 
sensations, alone and unaided, would suggest. And of course the 
same statement, mutatis mutandis, applies to whatever tactual sen¬ 
sations come from the contact and friction of the hall and socket 
of the eye. Since the records of the eye’s movements and positions 
tell us of the tactual sensations in so far as they arise in conciousness 
at all, these tactual sensations too must give an exceedingly mis¬ 
leading account of an aesthetic form as actually perceived and appre¬ 
ciated. 
The records also offer what seem to me insuperable objections 
to a modified view that has often been taken in the past. In ex¬ 
planation of the fact that a form may be seen with eyes at rest, it 
has been urged that the perception here is due to the suggestion of 
previous eye-movements which it is no longer necessary to carry out. 
Likewise in regard to the enjoyment of a pleasing curve, it would 
be in keeping with this thought to say that we enjoy the graceful 
eye-movements which the curve suggests, even when the eye is in 
repose. So long as the graceful movements of the eye stood in 
opposition merely to an actual repose of the eye, such a theory would 
offer little difficulty. But in view of the present records it seems no 
1) See his article on > Gracefulness« in bis Essays: Moral, Political and 
Aesthetic.
        

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