Vol. 1 No. 1 (2024): Disegno fra tradizione e innovazione

El dibujo como arte de la memoria: breves notas sobre los fundamentos de la Representación

Carlos Montes Serrano
Universidad de Valladolid

Published 2024-07-11


  • Representation,
  • Perception,
  • Likeness,
  • Recognition,
  • Images

How to Cite

Montes Serrano, C. (2024). El dibujo como arte de la memoria: breves notas sobre los fundamentos de la Representación. TRIBELON Journal of Drawing and Representation of Architecture, Landscape and Environment, 1(1), 50–59. Retrieved from https://riviste.fupress.net/index.php/tribelon/article/view/2856


The present essay concisely addresses the psychological roots or foundations of graphic rep- resentation. To do this, it presents some ideas from Karl Popper, Karl Bühler, Johan Huizinga, Samuel Coleridge, Ernst Kris, Julián Marías, C. S. Lewis, and especially, Ernst Gombrich, gath- ering valuable insights from all of them for the analysis of any drawing. First, some ideas are mentioned that were raised in a debate between Karl Popper and Konrad Lorenz regarding the emergence of language and the human capacity for deception and simulation. The psycholo- gist and linguist Karl Bühler, in his Theory of Language, refers to graphic representation as a non-linguistic representation system, spanning from the most illusory images to those with minimal iconicity. The cultural historian Johan Huizinga explains in his book Homo Ludens how the art of the graphic representation not only exhibits a series of playful characteristics but that it is precisely the innate playful tendency in humans that has given rise to all artistic manifestations. In this sense, the poet Samuel Coleridge describes how, in artistic enjoyment, there is always a willing suspension of disbelief. Ernst Kris, an art historian and psychiatrist, highlights in his book, The Legend of the Artist, the power of imagination in the creativity of artistic forms, thanks to the plasticity of the human mind that allows us to take one thing for another. These insights of Ernst Kris are enriched by the ideas of the philosopher Julián Marías, who addresses the issue from the beautifying nature of illusory deception. The medievalist and literary critic C.S. Lewis opens new perspectives on what we understand as the resemblance or likeness between reality and a drawing. Meanwhile, the cultural historian E.H. Gombrich summarizes and completes this entire set of ideas, emphasizing the viewer's effort in seeking meaning in any type of representation, which allows him to highlight the important role that memory and our recollections play in the interpretation of any drawing.