When Children's Drawings Become Art: The Emergence of Aesthetic Production and Perception

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journal abstract

Although children's drawings have been studied from several perspectives, their status as works of art has not been considered. It is possible that only at a certain point in development do children's drawings begin to exhibit characteristics of the aesthetic. Proceeding from a definition of the aesthetic proposed by Nelson Goodman, a set of tasks was devised to examine this possibility. First-, fourth-, and sixth-grade children were tested for their sensitivity to the dimensions of syntactic repleteness (e.g., line variation) and expression (i.e., the feelings conveyed by a work). First-grade children displayed little capacity to produce or perceive aesthetic characteristics. Fourth-grade children displayed significant capacities to perceive these characteristics in drawings, and by the sixth grade children demonstrated considerable capacities to exhibit these aesthetic characteristics in their own drawings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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