Culture and Affect in Aesthetic Experience of Pictorial Realism: An Eighteenth-Century Korean Literatus’ Reception of Western Religious Painting in Beijing

Ju-Yeon Hwang


Cultural factors are operating in the aesthetic experience of pictorial realism, occurring in a transcultural manner, and their effects are salient in beholder’s affective reaction correlated with perceptual-cognitive operation. This paper aims to demonstrate this hypothesis, by developing two analytical tools that might explain the anti-hedonic valence of Hong Taeyong, an eighteenth-century Korean literatus’ aesthetic experience of a Western religious fresco depicting the Lamentation of Christ in a Jesuit Catholic church in Beijing. First, a complex multifold conflict between «actual affect» and culturally modeled «ideal affect», operating simultaneously in his visual experience, might be translated into a highly negative valence of his global affective state. Second, the variance of processing fluencies at different levels would have made his global processing operation less fluid, and it might play a role in his negative affective valence, since the affect is inherent in processing fluency signal.


Aesthetic experience of pictorial realism; «ideal affect» and «actual affect»; «perceptual fluency» and «conceptual fluency»; Hong Taeyong

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