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Reading: Twofoldness and Three-Layeredness in Pictorial Representation


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Research Article

Twofoldness and Three-Layeredness in Pictorial Representation


Alberto Voltolini

Department of Philosophy, University of Turin, Via Sant’Ottavio 20, 10124 Turin, IT
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In this essay, I defend a Wollheimian account of a twofold picture perception. While I agree with Wollheim’s objectors that a picture involves three layers that qualify a picture in its complexity – its vehicle, what is seen in it, and its subject –, I argue that the third layer does not involve perception, even indirectly: what is seen in a picture constrains its subject to be a subject of a certain kind, yet it does not force the latter to be pictorially perceived, not even indirectly. So, even if a picture is three-layered, pictorial experience remains a twofold experience, as Wollheim claimed. Neither the proponents of threefoldness nor Wollheim himself, however, have convincingly explained how the experience really is a perceptual experience. My Wollheimian account thus aims to reconceive the pictorial experience in properly perceptual terms.
How to Cite: Voltolini, Alberto. “Twofoldness and Three-layeredness in Pictorial Representation”. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics 55, no. 1 (2018): 89–111. DOI:
Published on 01 Mar 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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