Western Art No.9
Art History and the Parergon: Boundaries and Frames
An Interview with Jean-Claude Lebensztejn
Script in Pictures:
Semiotics of Visual Language
The author provides a general overview of the written word in paintings, focusing primarily on the miniatures of medieval manuscripts but extending his investigation to the modern works of Goya, Manet, Picasso, and other artists. His analysis of this issue revolves chiefly around the following points: 1) The variety of modes by which script is integrated into picture depending upon the differences in vantage point of the viewer, who can be situated either inside or outside of the image; 2) the relationship between spatial representation and the modes of integration of script to image; and 3) the representation of written words and scrolls as signs of speech or speech acts.
Reflections on Sculptural
Supports for statues have two principle functions, the physical and institutional. During the twentieth century modern pedestals served to institutionalize sculpture as either monuments or works of art. But were artists and patrons not sensitive to the role of pedestals before this period as well? In this article, the author discusses how the Early Renaissance revived the use of pedestals once isolated statues began to be displayed in open spaces. The author agrees with Caglioti's definition of Donatello's bronze David and Judith statues as Saulenmonument. These statues' column-bases gave them an antique authority as well as considerable height, two functions that, the author argues, might well have been consciously recognized right from the beginning. From the sixteenth century onwards, evermore enormous statues began to be installed on rather low socles with a classical architectural vocabulary. Such large-scale sculptures may well correspond to the column itself supported by a low plinth. The author suggests that the humanist idea that human proportions should be reflected in architecture might also lead to a kind of interchangeability between the column-as-support and the column-as-statue, similar to the link that exists between architecture and a sculptural genre such as the caryatid.
The Frame of Representaion
and Some of its Figures
Every representation includes two dimensions, one reflexive (a presentation of oneself) and the other transitive (a representation of something). The general framework for representation is constituted by its mechanisms of presentation, like background, plane, and frame. First the functions of each of these elements as an indispensable "parergon"are elucidated. The model of the map, one of the paradigmatic examples of the Port-Royal logicians, is an exemplification of the transitive dimension of the representational sign. The author notes some effects of reflexive opacity in them. The other example of the Port-Royal logicians is the model of the portrait, which exemplifies the reflexive dimension. The author notes the reflexive exploration of frames and limits undertaken by Poussin, Cremonini, Klee, and Frank Stella.
The Emergence of the
Title in Painting
It is in the second half of the nineteenth century that we witness the emergence of the modern title in painting. Until this period, the term "title"is rarely found in painting discourse. Its emergence, however, represents not only the employment of a new term, but also the naming of a picture. Since the modern title marks a picture with its proper name, it differs from a simple explanation of a picture's subject, which has a long tradition in pictorial description. Nevertheless, modern titling emerges from this traditional explanation. From the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, the evolution of the descriptive form in catalogues and books on painting produces new modes of exposition, which involve the separation of the explanation from the description, the adoption of the title of a reproductive engraving of a picture, and the invention of new typographies. The modern title is predicated on the emergence of these new ideas.
The Deconstruction of
Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe, exhibited in the Salon des Refuses in 1863, is considered the work that inaugurated modern painting in Europe. To understand precisely the historical significance of this tableau, which aroused critical commentary and perplexity in contemporary reviewers, the concept of the parergon is effective. "Parergon"means "by-work,"or accessories or frames to a painting. Citation and montage of accompanying forms; the incoherent representation of details and the freezing of narrativity; reference to genres, ecoles and forms; the incomprehensive poses of the figures and the peculiar expression of the nude; all of these characteristics reveal that Manet deconstructed the painting in Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe as a meta-image by emphasizing and reconsidering the conditions and frames of the traditional tableau.
Matisse and the Others of Painting
Matisse's paintings reveal a diversity of technical devices, including grattage, traces of repainting, and over-painting, that have escaped the traditional purview of art history and have been ignored in modernism. In certain examples, these devices expose the temporal, corporeal, and psychological processes of representation, bringing about the collapse of the artist's traditional decorporealized identity and of its tropes of genius and mastery. Through an examination of several works -- especially Portrait of Mlle Yvonne Landsberg (1914), a series of female figures from the 1910's, some paintings of "the artist and his model' subject including Goldfish and Palette (1914), and finally the enormous Bathers by a River (1916) - and of issues such as figuration/de-figuration, the temporality of painting, and the corporeal and psychological relationships between the painter and the object, I attempt to demonstrate the possibility of treating these devices as a kind of parergon that displace the traditional systems and framings of painting in art historical discourse.
Signatures: Paratextuality in Early Modern Painting
Discourse on the Parergon
Daniel Arasse, Le Detail: Pour une Histoire rapprochee de la Peinture
Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, Annexes - de l'oeuvre d'art
Henry Keazor, Poussins Parerga: Quellen, Entwicklung und Bedeutung der Kleinekompositionen in den Gemalden Nicolas Poussins
Georges Didi-Huberman, Devant le temps: Histoire de l'art et anachronisme des images
Victor I. Stoichita, A Short History of the Shadow
Motokazu Kimata / Hidenori Kurita / Atsushi Miura
Wettstreit der K・ste:
Malerei und Skulpturen von D・er bis Daumier
La Revolution Surrealiste