Arnheim, Rudolph (1969) Art and Visual Perception: A psychology of the creative eye. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
from its beginnings and throughout its development ... Gestalt psychology has shown a kinship to art. ... the spirit underlying the reasoning of these men makes the artist feel at home. In fact, something like an artistic look at reality was needed to remind scientists that most phenomena of nature are not described adequately if they are analyzed piece by piece. ... at no time could a work of art have been made or understood by a mind unable to conceive the integrated structure of the whole.
Far from being a mechanical recording of sensory elements, vision turned out to be a truly creative grasp of reality - imaginative, inventive, shrewd, and beautiful.
The same principles operate in the various mental capacities because the mind always functions as a whole. All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation also invention.
Vision is not a mechanical recording of elements, but the grasping of significant structural patterns.
every act of seeing is a visual judgement. Visual judgements are not contributions of the intellect, added after the seeing is done. They are immediate and indispensible ingredients of the act of seeing itself.
Any line drawn on a sheet of paper ... is like a rock thrown into a pond. It upsets the repose, it mobilizes space.
[How can the whole be seen without the parts?] My answer is that the stimulus configuration seems to enter the perceptual process only in the sense that it evokes in the brain a specific pattern of general sensory catagories, which "stands for" the stimulation...
...the whole of a tree or bush may often present a fairly comprehensible sphere or cone shape. Also there may be an over-all texture of leafiness and greenness, but there is much in the landscape that the eyes are simply unable to grasp. And only to the extent to which the confused panorama can be seen as a configuration of clear-cut directions, sizes, geometric shapes, colors, can it be said that it is actually perceived.
there is a striking similarity between the elementary activities of the senses and the higher ones of thinking or reasoning. So great is this similarity that psychologists have often been tricked into attributing the achievements of the senses to secret aid supposed to have been rendered them by the intellect. They have spoken of unconscious conclusions or computations because they took it for granted that perception itself could do nothing better than mechanically register the impingements of the outer world.
The hidden back of a ball, which logically completes the round shape partly visible in front, is actually part of the percept. We do not see a partial sphere but a complete sphere. Similarly, the internal shape of things is often present in visual conception. The observer may see a watch as something that contains a clockwork. He may see a person's clothes as the wrappers of the body, or he may see the body as containing cavities, organs, muscles, and blood vessels. Children draw the baby in the mother's belly, bushmen include inner organs and intestines in the picture of a kangaroo, and Henry Moore fashions a human head as a hollow helmet whose visible inside is just as important as the outside.
Vision, as a reflection of the physical processes in the brain, is subject to the same basic laws of organization as the things of nature.