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The U-curve going Dutch: Cultural differences in judgements of artwork from different age and expertise groups

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The U-curve model of graphic development posits a decline in aesthetic production in middle childhood. This theoretical model has been criticized for having an underlying western and modernist bias, and a number of empirical studies have tried to confirm or disprove its assumptions. This study is a partial replication of previous research that was done to challenge U-curve findings, in order to show that the model reflects culture-specific aesthetic judgements, rather than universal trends. To demonstrate this, artists and art educators from different cultural backgrounds judged a cross-cultural collection of drawings by children from different age groups (5, 8, 11 and 14 year olds), adult non-artists and artists. The results indicate that differences in the cultural background of the judges generated different developmental patterns in aesthetic production.
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Keywords: aesthetic judgement; art education; child art; cross-cultural; graphic development; modernism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University 2: Cultuurnetwerk Nederland 3: VU University Amsterdam

Publication date: 12 July 2011

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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