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Philosophy of art

Memoir

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In defence of memoirs – a way to grip our story-shaped lives

Even the non-linear memoir creates meaning by shaping the hot mess of life into a narrative arc. What’s wrong with that?

by Helena de Bres

Painting and sculpture

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Looking at portraits with an eye to evolutionary psychology

Why our understanding of Jean-François Raffaëlli’s ‘Roadman’ portrait can use a little help from evolutionary psychology

by Dan Sperber

Photography

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Why we love to play pretend in front of scenic backdrops

Zoom backgrounds have their roots in 19th-century portrait photography and say as much about the creation of the social self

by Kim Beil

Beauty and aesthetics

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You can be aesthetically sensitive and know nothing about art

Aesthetic sensitivity is not about being correct in your judgments of beauty, but rather how much you’re affected by it

by Guido Corradi

Philosophy of art

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Archaeology excavates the layers of meaning we leave behind

Archaeologists make sense of the past by thinking about the intentional and the natural meanings of what they uncover

by Marilynn Johnson

Beauty and aesthetics

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Debating Bon Jovi’s cheesiness will enrich your conceptual life

Aesthetic questions don’t have answers ‘out there’ in the world. We’re free to decide what’s a glitch or a sculpture, and why

by Elizabeth Cantalamessa

Artists and art history

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Gentileschi. Let us not allow sexual violence to define the artist

Artemisia Gentileschi’s body of work has been framed by her personal history. Her paintings should speak for themselves

by Eliza Apperly

Altered states

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A touch of absurdity can help to wrap your mind around reality

And now for something completely different: how a dose of the surreal or absurd helps to make sense of our place in the world

by David Robson