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date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

There are three main modes of appreciation of aesthetic objects. The first is the appreciation of aesthetic pleasure, most often beauty. A simple account of the experience of beauty is the fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure. A more complex account assumes that there are two levels of aesthetic pleasure, a shallow one based on low-level experiences like fluency, and a deep level where disfluency leads to interest. The second mode of appreciation pertains to emotions experienced in response to an artwork, as illustrated by the distancing–embracing model of aesthetic emotions. The final mode of appreciation includes understanding an artwork. Cognitive models of artistic understanding assume that processes of perception, memory, and interpretation determine cognitive mastery. From the humanities tradition, cognitive models have been criticized because they neglect the historical context of the creation of the artwork as an objective component to understanding. A recent model combines art-historical context with cognitive processes and claims that such artistic understanding is essential to aesthetic appreciation.

Keywords: Aesthetic appreciation, aesthetic emotions, aesthetic pleasure, artistic understanding, beauty, fluency, interest, mixed emotions

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