Compelling Visuality: The Work Of Art In And Out Of History
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Explores what we actually see, touch, and experience when looking at art. Typically, art history is an enterprise of recovery--of searching out the provenance, the original intentions, the physical setting, and historical conditions behind a work of art. The essays in Compelling Visuality address some of the "other" questions that are less frequently asked--and, in doing so, show how much is to be learned and gained by going beyond the traditional approaches of art history. In particular, the contributors take up the commonly unexplored question of what is actually present in a work of art--what we see, touch, and experience when confronted with Renaissance or Baroque works that have survived the vicissitudes of time. International and interdisciplinary, this volume conducts readers into an ongoing discussion of the value and significance of personal response to works of art.
Rosalind Krauss uses Bataille’s term to elaborate a concept for the analysis of surrealism beyond the formalist argument that considered surrealism not formally innovative. See Krauss , –. 26. Here I would venture to take issue with Derrida as de Vries renders his thought (, ). 27. Part of this paragraph is taken from my book on this subject (Bal ). On the similarity and diﬀerence between baroque and romanticism in this respect, see the suggestive remarks by Octavio Paz (,
University Press. Austin, J. L.  . How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ecstatic Aesthetics 29 Bal, Mieke. . Reading “Rembrandt”: Beyond the Word-Image Opposition. New York: Cambridge University Press. ———. . “Telling Objects: A Narrative Perspective on Collecting.” In The Cultures of Collecting, ed. John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, –. London: Reaktion Books. ———. . The Mottled Screen: Reading Proust Visually. Trans. Anna-Louise Milne.
sacred painting—Leonardo’s scientiﬁc treatment of light, dark, and color, his attention to ephemeral aspects such as the subtle gradations of light and shadow on ﬂesh and water—had both symbolic value and a perceptual function that together deﬁned the cognitive ﬁeld of the viewer’s experience. Optical phenomena guided worshipers on an inner journey, exciting the imagination through external stimuli, moving the soul through contemplation of the external image to internal “imaginative vision” and
smooth surfaces would tend to recede, whereas rough surfaces would tend to advance toward the viewer (–, ). Often the underpainting shows through in those passages, just as in the shadowed areas of the face. In fact, Rembrandt’s faces in his later period are complex constructions of layers of paint in which it is hard to see how they are painted. Sometimes the impasto of the underpainting is applied very roughly as if done with a thick brush; when a layer of thinner paint is subsequently
mourning of absence through acts of mapping” (Bal , ). 3. This insight has its antecedents in the Dionysian conclusions that Nietzsche inferred from his reading of Schopenhauer. 4. Bauer , ﬁg. . 5. The grotesque in art and literature can be deﬁned as “the unresolved clash of incompatibles in work and response” (Thomson , ). But Vitruvius oﬀered already the following characteristic of the grotesque, which is most appropriate in the present context: “For our contemporary artists