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Constructive vs Descriptive in the Visual Arts


There are 2 ways of approaching any of the visual arts in my opinion, they are the main ways:

  1. Constructive –

the word itself (constructive) has its roots in the Latin “con-structura” i.e. “con” meaning with, together and “struere”  meaning to pile up.

The artist, the initiator, the author starts designing/creating the object of his work based on clear principles related to a certain order and measurements. They are critical and the basis of this creative process and subsequent results.

Just like the Demiurge (craftsman God), the artist must have the image of his creation prior to his work having started.


  1. Descriptive

The etymology of the word (descriptive) is “descriptivism” i.e. to write down, copy, sketch, to represent, is found from the Latin “de” (down) scribere (to write).

The author starts describing and creating his chosen topic/object without much scientific research.

The first way to approach creating an artwork is made through combining the initial chaos from one’s mind, with the order found within a certain immutable model. The artist becomes a genuine Art creator, he will create / form his own mind based on perpetual archetypes/models. His artwork gains its own life and spirit which has its own purpose and meaning, like an entity.


The second way of creating is when the artist depicts in the most detailed and like reality (image to image) of the subject. The artwork rather remains at what we would call an imitation stage, a copy – this however lacks its own personality or life.The artist is solely enslaved into the photographic reality. Such artist would rarely break these chains to overpower this status quo.


2D vs. 3D in Visual Arts.

Poincaré reduces Euclidian plane geometry to “a mere field of transformations”. It is the most convenient, comfortable and the simplest thing to make good use of that extraordinary propriety of surfaces in transposing on it, even insubstantially, the world of Creation.

That surface of translation perfectly responds and corresponds to solid bodies, which, both our senses and education may decode and analyze. The surface becomes an ideal instrument of informational communication. The artists of all epochs had to perfect that instrument, from all points of view; consequently, in time, it has become an aim in itself, sufficient to respond to the most stringent spiritual needs.

Order and measure have installed themselves as fundamental desideratives of a work of art. That would respond perfectly and directly to the spirit’s needs. The four basic sciences of Antiquity have been thoroughly studied: Mathematics, Geometry, Music and Astronomy, as perfect sciences, true landmarks, invariant constants of the world, indispensable to a true man of the arts. For the artist, the perpetual movement and transformation of Nature will pass from then on through the eternal, metaphysical filter of the Science of Proportions, the very “Mathesis Universalis” of Descartes

The most eloquent proof is the Egyptian art and the classical period of Greek art. The Still Continuum of Geometry has transmitted art both the eternal, the metaphysics, the atemporal, as well as, quite strangely, the live, the movement, the transformation. Man’s permanent reiteration of Principles is and will always be benefic and constructive. The great Master of Samos, whose name I will not mention either, seems to have said: “God created the Universe according to numbers and geometry… to seek these principles, therefore, would be to seek God”.