L.S. Vygotsky On Psychological Properties of Art Form Organization


The article discusses central concepts of artistic perception and creativity theory as presented in L.S. Vygotsky’s treatise “The Psychology of art” which focuses primarily on artistic feeling and catharsis as distinct psychological phenomena. Unlike a widely accepted view, Vygotsky’s work shows that form and content in art do not necessarily need to correspond. The perceptual conflict staged by contradictory relationship between the original artistic premises within these two categories is an essential requirement for, and is resolved by, the resulting integrated aesthetic experience. Based on Vygotsky’s reasoning, the current article suggests a set of criteria that identify the main characteristics of the compositional organization of a piece of art. The psychological aspects of artistic perception described by Vygotsky argue for objective existence of aesthetic values. Vygotsky’s reasoning emphasizes true aesthetic value of a piece of art and thus provides the foundation for sound argumentation against evaluation approaches based mainly on its worth on the collector’s market. This article highlights the parts of his theory that describe the psychological patterns used to resolve perceptive inconsistencies and harmonize personal value systems. The concepts discussed in Vygotsky’s works, in particular his theory of catharsis, reveal deep psychological mechanisms of artistic perception. Such mechanisms reflect the organisational complexity of an art form which may at first glance seem to only be a means of pleasure and entertainment.

Alexander Vyacheslavovich Sveshnikov

PhD in Art, Professor, Drawing and Painting Department


Author for correspondence.
Email: sveshnikov@rinet.ru


  1. Выготский Л.С. Психология искусства. - М.: Искусство, 1986. - 573 с.
  2. Христиансен Б. Философия искусства. - СПб.: Изд-во «Шиповник», 1911. - 256 с.
  3. Шиллер Ф. Собр. соч., т. 6. - М.: Гослитиздат, 1957. - 326 с.

Copyright (c) 2015 Sveshnikov A.V.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies