|You say Picasso's art, for instance, can alter our perceptions concerning how we perceive the world. But, Lentil, how many ways can we really see it? Paint a rock green on a canvas, a tree white, but that doesn't change how they are in reality, and how people truly see them.|
Visual art immediately hits our visual senses, but on a canvas, an orange is still an orange, and we only see, at it's crudest form and depending on the artist's skills, a round orange shape; but a book can tell you what how its fragrance smells, its taste, its texture, its weight - so many more things the canvas cannot reveal.
Now, even the most reality-centred writer has a different approach to our world - but aren't Hardy, Hemmingway, Steinbeck, or Saramago's, just to name a few, books visions of worlds you can identify yourself with, better than you could if looking at a Picasso? Remember, to pass knowledge, the receiver must first understand what they're receiving.
pre-photography images (paintings, prints etc) were used to record likenesses, understand anatomy, illustrate moral and social lessons, depict myths and stories, and funnily enough, historical events, as full of "facts" as anything else you'd care to mention.
Photography does pass information, indeed, but how different is a photograph than a 19th century panting, in that both are more historical documments than anything else? And wouldn't photography be more related to journalism, whose main fucntion is to pass information.
But is the information received from a newspaper/tv similar to the one from a book? A newspaper/tv only deals with recent news affecting us immediately - wars, natural disasters, electoral results, soccer results - but a book can deal with any subject, from any period, many times over and still discover something new or give history/reality an updated account.
Now, you could say a channel like History Channel does the same, but television is limited by time - a docummentary wouldn't be more than 40 minutes, and that's what we get; a painting, likewise, what's drawn on it can't be changed.
But a book can spend 100, 200, 500, 1000 pages on a single subject; if one written one hundred years ago is wrong, new books nowadays can refute it, they can explore every last avenue of history because it has space for it; , and that's what a book is: a repository for knowledge. The same can't be said of a Picasso.