Visual Time: The Image in History

Visual Time: The Image in History

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0822353695

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Visual Time offers a rare consideration of the idea of time in art history. Non-Western art histories currently have an unprecedented prominence in the discipline. To what extent are their artistic narratives commensurate with those told about Western art? Does time run at the same speed in all places? Keith Moxey argues that the discipline of art history has been too attached to interpreting works of art based on a teleological categorization—demonstrating how each work influences the next as part of a linear sequence—which he sees as tied to Western notions of modernity. In contrast, he emphasizes how the experience of viewing art creates its own aesthetic time, where the viewer is entranced by the work itself rather than what it represents about the historical moment when it was created. Moxey discusses the art, and writing about the art, of modern and contemporary artists, such as Gerard Sekoto, Thomas Demand, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Cindy Sherman, as well as the sixteenth-century figures Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Hans Holbein. In the process, he addresses the phenomenological turn in the study of the image, its application to the understanding of particular artists, the ways verisimilitude eludes time in both the past and the present, and the role of time in nationalist accounts of the past.

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of finding grounds for translating the experiences of one into another.8 Claire Farago suggests the relevance of many of these ideas for the discipline of art history in her book Reframing the Renaissance.9 However, no one has been more vocal in challenging historicist ideas of periodicity than Georges Didi-­Huberman, who argues for the “anachronism” of images, insisting that their phenomenological presence makes them capable of defying time. Their capacity to elude a historical framework makes

and Narrative, translated by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer, 3 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984–88); Hayden White, “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality,” in The Content of the Form: Do We Still Need a Renaissance? — 33 Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, 1–25 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987). 3. The classic statement of the central importance of the Renaissance for the history of art is found in Panofsky’s Renaissance

Self-­Portrait, 1500 29 2.3. Fra Angelico, Annunciation with Saint Peter Martyr, ca. 1440–45 30 5.1. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Battle between Carnival and Lent, 1559 81 5.2. Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, ca. 1510 85 5.3. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Christ Carrying the Cross, 1564 88 5.4. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death, 1562–63 92 5.5. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Return of the Hunters, 1565 97 6.1. Thomas Demand, Window, 1998 110 6.2.

escaped the iconoclasm of the Reformation in the German-­speaking lands, he lived long enough to see it become a reality in his adopted home. Reformed challenges to orthodox teaching on images from Erasmus to Luther found widespread response in a population that had been exposed to the heretical teaching of John Wycliffe and the Lollards in the fourteenth century.43 Beginning in the mid-­1530s, isolated acts of image Mimesis and Iconoclasm — 131 smashing were transformed into a systematic

Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England ca. 1400–ca. 1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. Dülberg, Angelica. Privatporträts: Geschichte und Ikonologie einer Gattung im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert. Berlin: Mann, 1990. Dumoulin, Olivier, and Raphaël Valéry, eds. Periodes: La construction du temps historique. Paris: Histoire au Present, 1991. Eco, Umberto, and Marilyn Migiel. “An Ars Oblivionalis? Forget It!” Publications of the Modern Language Association 103, no. 3 (1988):

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