Developmental Disparities in Differing Levels of Conceptions of the Beautiful and Implications on Marriage as a Fundamental Organizational Unit

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This paper presents the empirical results of a study with 70 adult respondents concerning whether Picasso’s Les Demoiselles dAvignon (1907) and The Bull Series (1945–1946) are beautiful or not. The correlation between responses to these 2 complex Cubist art works is .97, p = .01. Disparities between subjects’ conceptions of what the works of art are about in contrast to what Picasso depicted are characterized by 2 structural-developmental levels. This study extends some of the findings of conceptions of the beautiful (Erdynast & Chen, 2014). The hypothesis that a higher chronological age cannot be equated with a higher exhibited developmental level of conception of the beautiful and that some older age subjects exhibited lower-level responses than some younger age subjects was supported. Content choice changes concerning the 2 artworks were always unidirectional, from “not beautiful to beautiful” or from “undecided” to “beautiful;” never in the opposite direction. Developmental disparities of conceptions of the beautiful are illustrated in the late period of the marriage and divorce of the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter and actress Vivien Merchant. Their structural-developmental conceptual analyses of aesthetic (and political and human rights) issues were so disparate that Harold Pinter could not effectively communicate about his conceptions as a playwright and social critic. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles dAvignon and The Bull Series illustrate general principles of design and command of line: composition and balance, movement, dynamic tensions, interplay between abstraction and realism, rhythms of form and planes, distinctness of style and craft.

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