عنوان مقاله [English]
"Mohakat" (Muḥākāt) is a central concept in Avicenna's thoughts on art. He uses this term as a translation for Aristotelian "mimesis". Since there have been different conceptions about Mohakat, or representation, in the history of thought, it should be questioned that what Mohakat means in painting according to Avicenna's views. In studies about the aesthetics of Avicenna, poetry and music have been much considered, but Avicenna's views on painting have not been much noticed in the literature. The present research, therefore, seeks to provide a clear account of Avicenna's views on the concept and the meaning of Mohakat in painting, and in other words, to determine the characteristic features of Mohakat in painting according to his views. It is tried to answer this question by examining Avicenna's scattered words about painting. In this study, the aesthetic views of Avicenna on Mohakat are summarized in three general themes.
The nature of Mohakat in painting is examined in the first part, the sub-queries of which are as follows: is the meaning of Mohakat pure and complete imitation, or is this kind of representation compatible with innovation? What are the cases of Mohakat, and in other words, what kinds of objects are represented in a painting? Does the painter merely represent the existing things, or he/she can deal with things that are not actual existing only in his mind? Does the painter only represent the surfaces of the things, or can he/she represent the inner qualities of the subject? What is the relation of Mohakat in painting with that in such other arts as poetry and music?
The second part addresses the pleasure of Mohakat. This aesthetic pleasure is considered about both the artist and the audience. It should be inquired that are there any differences between the pleasure of the Mohakat in painting and that in the other arts? Is this pleasure dedicated to humans, or other beings can also benefit from it?
The third part discusses the epistemic role of the Mohakat in painting. Is the picture necessarily true, in the sense that it should correspond to an actual object, or may it offer a non-correspondent knowledge to the audience? If so, how does it influence the audience' soul? Finally, can a painting be a good medium for transferring knowledge? And in this case, what is the characteristic features of it? In this research, it has been attempted to respond to above questions using library resources, mainly Avicenna's works, specially his scattered words about painting.
Avicenna believes that the work of a poet resembles that of a painter, both imitate something. He defines Mohakat as "presenting something similar to something else, but not the thing itself." Nevertheless, he believes that Mohakat in painting does not imply mere imitation of a model. Mohakat in painting is not merely the imitation of existing objects, and it is not necessary for the painter to make use of a model that presents in the outside world, that is, Mohakat in painting is not merely an imitation of outward appearance. In other words, the painter can portray, in addition to the outward appearance of someone, his/her inward states. Considering the relation that Avicenna has made between the kind of Mohakat in poetry and painting, it can be concluded that from his point of view, imagination has an important role in the definition of painting.
Avicenna describes imitated painted forms as "pleasurable" and "delightful", and regards the ability of imitating things as one of the aspects of human superiority over animals. He emphasizes that the pleasure of Mohakat is not purely sensual pleasure and dedicated to it, rather, it is a mental pleasure and depends on the rational faculty. The audience of a painting is enjoying two things: first, the picture itself in terms of its quality and status, and the like. It seems that, according to amodern interpretation, it may imply color, composition, and formal features of the image. But on the second level, the thing that completes the pleasure is to understand that the image is an imitation of something else. Avicenna believes that the pleasure of painting is so great that it is more enjoyable to see a painting of an object than the object itself. There is also a kind of pictorial Mohakat in the music. From his point of view, Mohakat in the painting is not necessarily true or false. Truth and falsehood in painting is beyond logical truth and falsehood. Avicenna believes that painting can make people charmed and fascinated, and engage the mind of human beings. Also, Mohakat in painting can be a means of expressing rational meanings in sensible language using a coded form.