What Is Imagery


One of the many terms that have been used throughout the years for descriptions of art is “imagery,” but what is imagery exactly? The definition of imagery is the use of pictures or other visual representations to serve a certain purpose. It is not a very difficult concept to grasp, but most people seem to get lost in the various definitions and possibilities. When you are looking to purchase canvas wall art for your home or business, it is helpful to get an understanding of what is imagery so that you can be more familiar with what you are buying. Here are some of the various types of imagery and what they mean when used in paintings and other types of art.

First, we will talk about the five senses. With this knowledge, you can learn what is imagery and use it in your own paintings. In a reading, the reader must use their five senses to understand the text and to create the correct mental image in their mind. This involves using the vision to see the text, then using the hearing to hear the words and finally, using the taste buds to experience the smell of the painting.

Vision is what is imagery for those who have normal vision. When you look at something, you are seeing it from your eyes. Your sense of smell picks up on the details that are in the color of the eyes, the texture of things and so forth. Your hearing helps you to distinguish what is being said in the sound of a word and your taste buds pick up on the smells of what is being painted. By contrast, a person who has Deafness in their ear, may not be able to perceive things the same way others can.

In a reading, the reader relies on the senses mentioned above to comprehend what is imagery. When a text is written for the purposes of communication, then it will include figurative language that is meant to be understood only by the first-rate sensory organs of the human body. The words of a poem, a novel or even a newspaper article just cannot be read when understood through the five senses. Imagery is the opposite of literal language.

Illustration is another way of how writers use imagery. As they create images in the reader’s mind, they are also engaging all five senses. For example, a mother putting a child to bed uses the sight to bring her to tears as she looks at the child asleep on her lap. The sight of a tree falling leaves, the sight and the smell of the petals watered by the rain brings the smell together. All three senses are used to make the images in the mind of the reader. It is this total sensory integration that gives writers the ability to create images in the reader’s mind.

In this age of technological innovation, writers can easily make use of imagery to help them to depict things that cannot be put into words. A computer animated character stands before the camera in one frame and in the next frame he is riding a motorcycle. The close-ups of his movements add a sense of reality to what is figurative imagery. Similarly, a figure in a technical suit stands in front of a computer screen in one frame and in the next frame he is in full uniform. Again, both the close-ups of the figures and the near-death experiences in which they appear to demonstrate a sense of reality to the reader. In short, both figurative and literal imagery connects the writer with his characters more than with any other means.

What is imagery literary devices also teaches the writer how to make an image a part of his thoughts rather than a mere accompaniment of a text. This approach is common in the Romanticists and Impressionists. However, in the modern period, writers were quick to link their figurative language with their scientific rationalism. Thus, for instance, a scientist who talked about the structure of a star would talk about heavenly imagery or geometrical images. Similarly, a writer could talk about the effects of sunlight on a pine tree by means of images of sunlight bending the shape of the trees. He might even relate the pine trees to other living beings like fishes or dogs.

In discussing what is imagery I would like to point out the fact that there are many instances where the two can converge. Consider, for example, the way in which Mary Douglas, the Scottish Romanticist, used the images of daffodils to express the eternal beauty of youth. Or when the Irish writer Colleen Binchy uses the image of a plump, old man to suggest the immortality of his soul. Or when the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, uses the image of the eternity of the sun to explain the beauties of the heaven. Or when the Russian writer, Maxim Durrussov, translates the Arabic word for paradise as the “diamonds of the earth.”