Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Friday, July 30, 2010

Repetition of visible objects

Temple of Poseidon, now believed to be Hera´s. From

The repeated excitement of the same or similar ideas with certain intervals of time, or distances of space between them, is attended with agreeable sensations, besides that simply of perception; and, though it appears to be diametrically opposite to the pleasure arising from the novelty of objects above treated of, enters into the compositions of all the agreeable arts. (…)
This kind of pleasure arising from repetition, that is from the facility and distinctness with which we perceive and understand repeated sensations, enters into all the agreeable arts; and when it is carried to excess is termed formality. The art of dancing like that of music depends for a great part of the pleasure, it affords, on repetition; architecture, especially the Grecian, consists of one part being a repetition of another, and hence the beauty of the pyramidal outline in landscape-painting; where one side of the picture may be said in some measure to balance the other. So universally does repetition contribute to our pleasure in the fine arts, that beauty itself has been defined by some writers to consist in a due combination of uniformity and variety: Zoonomia, Vol. I. Sect. XXII. 2. 1.
Where these repetitions of form, and reiterations of colour, are produced in a picture or a natural landscape, in an agreeable quantity, it is termed simplicity, or unity of character; where the repetition principally is seen in the disposition or locality of the divisions, it is called symmetry, proportion, or grouping the separate parts; where this repetition is most conspicuous in the forms of visible objects, it is called regularity or uniformity; and where it affects the colouring principally, the artists call it breadth of colour.

Picture from

There is nevertheless, an excess of the repetition of the same or similar ideas, which ceases to please, and must therefore be excluded from compositions of Taste in painted landscapes, or in ornamented gardens; which is then called formality, monotony, or insipidity. Why the excitation of ideas should give additional pleasure by the facility and distinctness of their production for a certain time, and then cease to give additional pleasure; and gradually to give less pleasure than that, which attends simple exertion of them; is another curious metaphysical problem, and deserves investigation.
From The Temple of Nature; or, The Origin of Society. By Erasmus Darwin, 1802

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