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Visual abstraction is not merely an aesthetic quest; it is a biological necessity.By reducing visual complexity abstraction increases perceptual efficiency allowing us to recognize objects, evaluate movement and orient ourselves in space with great rapidity.The dark blue gown of , whose inner creases and folds are barely indicated, is transmuted into a pure, bell-like shape which is understood only through its two graceful external contours.The surfaces of objects are sometimes so abstracted that they are cleansed of their natural texture, for instance, the reflections that would be expected to be observed.In the case of photographic images it has been calculated that this redundancy may be as high as 90%.The ability of the human mind to abstract may also be linked to the limitations of its memory system.Such patterning has often been appreciated for its own sake; music without vocal narrative elements tends to be enjoyed in a similar manner.
"The curriculum of the Accademia di San Luca was, as least as far as technique is concerned, designed to combat the abhorrent practices followed by Caravaggio (1571–1610) and the Bamboccianti, painting technique.
The abstract quality of Vermeer's painting may be so appreciated today not only because it is consistent with contemporary taste, but because, perhaps, abstraction reveals something of the mechanics of vision and renders assimilation more efficient, and therefore more pleasurable.
Just as the brain searches for constancies and essentials, so does the artist.
The terms in this glossary are cross-linked or externally linked A Dutch term for the painting technique called "maniera lavata," which describes a method of dead-coloring (underpainting) in which each specific area of the painting is first approximated in a flat tint—a relatively light wash—before creating the final nuances of form, hue and light.
A loss of media or scratches, often resulting in a loss on the surface, extending to the paint and ground layers, caused by faulty cleaning, friction as well as where the frame touches the painted surface.