Skill, Practice, Performance
Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri
The Tacit Image: Michael Polanyi Revisited. Gábor Palló
The Tacit Image: Michael Polanyi Revisited Gábor Palló In 1970 Michael Polanyi published a study with the title “What is a painting?”.1 It is this question that actually constitutes the subject of his study, although it might sound too simple: everyone appears to know what a painting is. It is a pic- ture created by an artist who coates a canvas with paint using his brush. In fact, however, “painting” may have a second meaning. It can also be considered a picture that depicts the world of the painter, i.e., people, landscapes, towns, ani- mals, furniture, and many other things. The third meaning of “painting” refers to the extra-pictorial territories of cultural, aesthetic and moral values, like reli- gious beliefs, beauty of human beings or animals, cosiness of a family home, and so on, which transcend the figures, colours, shapes and other visual objects seen on the picture. The question is whether these three meanings are achieved by the artist through optical illusion; or may a painting objectively, independent- ly of our judgment, bear all the three meanings simultaneously. Enter Polanyi This problem was addressed by many authors in the 20th century, including his- torians of art Ernst Gombrich and Maurice Pirenne, who both published on illu- sions in art.2 Michael Polanyi was an outsider in this group. He graduated in medicine in Budapest, turned to physical chemistry in Berlin after leaving Hun- gary in 1920. By the 1930s, he became one of the leading experts of his...
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