In his book Traité du trait, the contemporary French art historian Hubert Damisch describes a grammatical structure of the “trait” in Western art history from the perspective of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of language. Using the visual art symbol of the “trait”, Damisch relates the line in Renaissance sketch to the linear cut on a flat surface in contemporary Western abstract art, reconstructing a non-chronological narrative system of art history. In this art theory monograph on the “trait”, Damisch devotes a chapter to a detour into the brush line in Chinese classical painting, incorporating the line in Chinese literati painting and calligraphy into his system of linear art language. By analyzing the factors of Chinese calligraphy and painting in Damisch's Traité du trait, this article explores the issue of the “trait” in Chinese and Western aesthetics and their mutual interpretive relationship, presenting an intercultural research paradigm of art semiotics.


Hubert Damisch, Traité du trait, theory of the trait, Chinese painting and calligraphy