Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Structure of Paintings: Formal Grammar and Design

Published

Author(s)

Russell A. Kirsch, J Kirsch

Abstract

Although substantial literature exists on the properties of formal grammars, much less has been written on the use of grammars for describing the languages which they are capable of explaining. Thus we see a well-developed theory conccrning the expressive (generative) power of different kinds of formal grammars and powerful algorithmic methods (analytical) for the languages defined by these grammars. For natural spoken snd written languages, grammars have been used for explaining their structure but for the two-dimensional gencralization to designs, pictures, images, and fine arts, which has been known since 1964, almost no use has been made of grammars. The purpose of this paper is to call attention to the powerful dormant tools that can be used in the design arts. Some of the benefits of using these tools for describing existing (natural) design languages are discussed. How such uses may direct us from the more formal design arts into the fine arts is discussed by reporting progress on building a grammar for a class of contemporary paintings.
Citation
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Volume
13

Keywords

structure, paintings, formal grammar, design

Citation

Kirsch, R. and Kirsch, J. (1986), The Structure of Paintings: Formal Grammar and Design, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=821704 (Accessed June 13, 2024)

Issues

If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact reflib@nist.gov.

Created December 31, 1985, Updated October 12, 2021