Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Institut für Deutsch als Fremdsprachenphilologie

Speaking about paintings

Speaker: Raphael Rosenberg

Affiliation: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin / Universität Heidelberg,

Title: Speaking about paintings: Does it change the way we look at them?


As part of a DFG funded research Christoph Klein and I compare art experts’ and laypersons’ gaze movement patterns whilst contemplating paintings. Preliminary analyses suggest that art experts, trained in making their impressions of paintings explicit using language, exhibit structured, repetitive gaze movement patterns that “re-construct” the objective structure of the paintings. Art laypersons do not show such gaze movement trajectories to the same extent as experts. We also examine in which way the instruction to speak about paintings after looking at them influences these gaze movement patterns. Our results have implications for the constructive role of language in the beholding of visual arts.