A developmental psychology of art is framed by contrasting two developmental perspectives: the study of drawing, emphasizing a structural orientation which represents ideas from cognitivist and skill theory in contemporary developmental experimental psychology, and the study of artistry, emphasizing a functional orientation found in semiotic theories and art education. These positions are differentiated on three issues: (1) the ontogenesis of graphic symbolism; (2) theories of perception, and by implication, their contrasting epistemologies and ontologies, and (3) conceptualization of art as socially situated. From this analysis it is argued that a new developmental psychology of art assumes that the origin of graphic symbolization emerges with early mark-making; that children’s art as representing experience is guided by their perception of affordances, and only in limited circumstances by their perception of appearances, and, finally, that children continue to engage in art if it has social developmental significance.

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