Subject: Theory of Visual Shape

Scientific Area:

Art Sciences


48 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - At the end of the semester, students should be able to: 1 - Recognize and to understand notions, concepts and fundamental vocabulary, within the scope of the theory of the visual form.
2 - Analyze and interpret the relationships between the diferent visual elements, as well as their importance in visual communication.
3 - Participate actively in the discussions and debates around the image analysis.
4 - Develop research in the field of image study.


1 - Introduction to the theory of the visual form.
1.1 - The image in Classical Antiquity. The four miths of the image. The theories of the image.
1.2 - Meanings of the word "image." Between analogy and code. The degrees of analogy.
2 - Foundations of visual perception.
2.1 - From Electromagnetic Spectrum the image on the retina and the brain.
2.2 - Psychology of vision. The major approaches to visual perception.
3 - Shape and visual field.
3.1 - Visual field and the morphological, dynamic and scalar elements.
3.2 - Color: perception and culture.
3.3 - The spatial dimension of the device. Division of space / visual surface and the relationship between elements of the image.
4 - Ontology, types and functions of the image.
4.1 - The diferente types of images.
4.2 - Classification of images as production and context.
5 - Image and sign.


J Aumont , 2009 , A imagem , Edições Texto & Grafia
J Berger , s/d , Modos de ver , Edições 70
M Joly , 1999 , Introdução à análise da imagem , Edições 70
J. Villafañe , 1992 , Introducción a la teoria de la imagen , Ediciones Piramide
A Donis , 1976 , La sintaxis de la imagen. Introduccón al alfabeto visual , Gustavo Gili
GOMBRICH, E. H , Arte e Ilusão: Um estudo da psicologia da representação pictórica , Martins Fontes
ELKINS, James , The Object Stares Back. On The Nature of Seeing , Harvest Book
ECO, Umberto , Obra Aberta. Forma e indeterminação nas poéticas contemporâneas , Perspectiva
J. Albers , 2012 , Interaction of Colors , Yale University Press
R. Arnheim , 1989 , Intuição e intelecto na Arte. , Martins Fontes
Leborg C. , 2016 , Gramática visual , Gustavo Gili

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
Combination of the following methods: Expository and explanatory method; Dialogic method; Active approach. Periodic evaluation: Specific exercises for each topic of the curricular unit to be worked in class (10%); research papers and oral presentations (none of which will exceed 50%), through which the student must demonstrate the knowledge acquired during the semester; a mini-test and a frequency (none of which will exceed 50%). Continuous assessment: participation in class and attendance (15%).

Subject Leader:

Valentina Vezzani