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Serge Gregory surveys Chekhov’s artistic education, his time working the Moscow art beat as a cultural critic, reviewing operas and exhibits, and enjoying the inside scoop on these worlds thanks in part to his older brother Nikolai, an accomplished painter. Gregory demonstrates how Chekhov’s literary impressionism was formed by parallel movements in the arts, especially by his friendship with Isaac Levitan, whose painterly approach to mood was decisive for Chekhov’s own fictional landscapes.
Churchill’s art has remained marginal to the study of his legacy in the twentieth century and yet he was in correspondence with some of the most highly regarded painters of the period, and was successfully presented and reviewed. The chapter explores Churchill’s relationship with art: his encounter with painting, his mentors and influences, painting, politics and the tension between tradition and modernism in the art of his age, the reception of his works, and the question of the amateur versus the professional artist.
Images of rape in late-medieval and early renaissance Italy belong to the broader question of sexual violence and societal responses to it. Both aspects are significant: These representations equally relate to the reality of rape and collective ideological responses to it. On the one hand, what people do to each other defines who they are. Collective behavioral norms and patterns establish the boundaries of day-to-day interactions and organize life in a community. They also turn people into particular versions of themselves. If they allow, condone, or perform sexual violation of others, this makes them members of a rape-prone society and potential rapists. Similarly, an ideal rape-free society could be defined by the complete eradication of any sexual act under coercion. This opposition seems to offer an unambiguous distinction between communities based on consensual and nonconsensual sexuality.
Beckett’s works are built around the paradoxical notion of the still life. Suspended between motion and standstill, destruction and creation, a still life conveys the state of a being that is simultaneously lifeless and alive. Still lifes are located at the intersection of life and death, of presence and absence, of the material and the immaterial dimension of a work of art. Beckett, above all in his later prose and drama, uses the still life as a reflection on the creation of a work of art while simultaneously performing this creative process as it were in vivo. This chapter discusses the relation between visual, textual, musical and dramatic still lifes. It analyses the tableaux vivants and nature mortes in works such as A Piece of Monologue, Stirrings Still and What Where in relation to Hamlet, and investigates the notion of ghostly doppelgangers by way of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise that informed Beckett’s late plays. Journeys of dispossession and shrinking, moments frozen in time that approach the condition of a still life will be analysed in Timon of Athens, The End, King Lear, Texts for Nothing, Sonnets 55, 18 and 81, and finally in Breath.
Painted portraits on wood and cloth were common in the ancient world and prized as authentic and lifelike images. Affordable, portable, and desirable, they were an important form of representation, but rarely survive in the archaeological record outside Egypt. This article approaches the study of painted portraiture in a way that does not necessitate the survival of the images themselves. It analyzes evidence for the use, reuse, and imitation of painted portraits in the catacombs of 4th-c. Rome by examining the remains of settings and attachments for portraits, the shadows left by them on walls, and portraits in other media which imitate panel paintings. The article considers why painted portraits were so effective in funerary contexts and what connection they may have had to domestic portraiture. It also explores the development of panel portrait imitation through the phenomenon of the “square nimbus.”
Latin America’s Black newspapers and magazines were sites for both dissemination and extensive discussion of literature and the arts. Culture was no less important to Black editors and writers than politics or social commentary. The papers published numerous stories, poems, and serializations of novels. They included profiles of important Black artists, writers, and musicians and debated the quality of their work. Their efforts to alert readers to the existence and the achievements of Black cultural creators simultaneously created space for the development of Black cultural theory and arts criticism. This chapter includes several creative works, an extended review of a long-form poem, reporting on the lives and deaths of individual authors, and an account of a female cook whose aspirations to become a writer were never realized. Other articles provide probing reflections on the relationship of Blackness to artistic expression, and on what it meant to be a Black artist.
This chapter also appreciates the aesthetics and cultural significance of African arts – celebrating the outstanding creativity inherent in Yoruba history, social life, and artistry; however, with a focus on painting, which, as other Yoruba arts, transforms their cultural ideas into materialization. Yoruba painting in this chapter is portrayed to provide “visual gratification” and “creative inspiration” as well as a means of engaging viewers in “critical commentaries” that promote culture. Also, it is seen as capable of engendering cultural unity with portrayals of “mythological and historical” aspects common to the Yoruba people, for instance. Beyond the above, Yoruba paintings are also used to illustrate the sociocultural principles of the Yoruba via “naturalistic postures and framings” in which individuals are shown to display some of these collective values. With pictorial evidence, the chapter references many of these cultural values, such as “reverence” depicted in the painting of an individual stooping. Like other materials in Yorubaland, paintings have meanings to them and are expressive, albeit in non-verbal communication mode, revealing who the owner is or their “intimacy with the idea, person, motifs, belief” being espoused in the painting.
Jean-Luc Marion is often interpreted as a thinker of the purely invisible and apophatic, in tension with the rich forms of mediation found in Christian practice. I will challenge these assumptions through a close reading of one of Marion's rare concrete examples, the “icon”— not his philosophical use of the term, but the holy image that initially inspired it. Marion defines the sacred image by its “transparency,” “self-effacement,” or “kenosis.” This seems to indicate that the icon must cancel itself out to make room for God, an iconoclastic attitude with troubling consequences for the believer who prays to the icon and for the rest of the finite world. By rigorously developing Marion's understanding of this word “kenosis,” I argue that, counter to initial impressions, this account of the sacred image is deeply faithful to the essential aspects of the Byzantine icon understood as a “window into heaven.”
The patronage bestowed by British royalty on the arts in the twentieth century has been very little explored. This chapter looks at the most prominent examples of how the monarch, and senior members of the royal family, supported individual writers, artists, musicians, and performers up to the 1970s. A mere royal command or even just interest in a certain work can greatly increase the attention it receives and further its creator’s reputation and success. All the same, royal patronage in this period became a more formalised enterprise. In contrast to previous centuries, royal patronage concentrated more and more on professional organisations and distinct groups, rather than on selected individuals.
This chapter lays out the vibrant social networks and rich cultural activities of the elite residents of Ichijōdani, pushing back against the derivative claim that provincial capitals were mere “Little Kyotos.”
This chapter connects Conrad’s delayed decoding with Russell’s logical atomism, arguing that what the latter sought to do for philosophy, the former attempted to do in literature. Both delayed decoding and logical atomism communicate elementary sense-impressions; they construct a truth hierarchy where the particular is above the abstract. The chapter analyses how the language use of each concept corresponds to a host of assumptions about how we experience reality and what constitutes truth, assumptions that aid in explaining their extraordinary friendship. The chapter continues by explicitly calling into question Ian Watt’s concept of delayed decoding using my category, “delayed miscoding.” The chapter contains a lengthy demonstration showing that the most quoted example used to illustrate this hallmark of Conrad scholarship is inconsistent. My reading is not an attempt to discard Watt’s delayed decoding but an attempt to show that there is a discrepancy between what it names and what it explains. Delayed decoding’s binary structure and bivalent logic are limited ways for analyzing a text that is paradigmatically ambiguous.
It has long been a critical commonplace to say that Shakespeare’s audience went to hear rather than see a play. Rhetorical virtuosity was the draw, and performed on a relatively bare stage. Recent scholarship has begun to complicate this view by excavating – quite literally, aided by recent archaeological finds on the sites of early theaters and figuratively, using digital data-mining techniques – new evidence regarding stage spectacle and spectatorship, from fashionable costumes and eye-catching properties to sophisticated stage-machinery and fireworks. In casting early modern theatre as a contest between the ears and eyes, or words and “stage-pictures,” however, scholarly attention has largely been confined to the head, ignoring the bodies-in-motion that defined theatrical experience. Although studies of theatrical gesture have introduced a modicum of movement into this relatively static “picture,” the tendency has been to focus on talking heads / facial expressions and posing hands (often depicted as a frozen series of stills), which seem to hover magically above 2 invisible feet and legs. This chapter reconsiders the ways in which meaning and emotion were conveyed between players and playgoers in the public amphitheaters from head to toe – or rather, from the ground up. Drawing on a variety of evidence, including stage directions, rhetorical and aesthetic treatises, documents of theater history, and material artifacts, such as MoLA’s shoe-finds at the Rose and Globe, we will consider the “two-hour’s traffic” of the stage as propelled and perceived through the feet.
This chapter examines the relationship between literature and visual cultures between 1900 and 1920 through the different forms of art writing practised by a range of literary and cultural figures. Museums and art galleries witnessed a surge in popularity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as collections expanded and opened up to a wider viewing public, while exhibitions such as the post-impressionist exhibition of 1910 have come to be seen as cultural landmarks in narratives of the period. This essay explores writers’ encounters with artworks and artefacts in the contested yet stimulating spaces of museums and galleries, and examines the ways in which such encounters helped to frame questions about aesthetics and cultural identity, history and the contemporaneous. It takes in the role of periodical cultures – focusing on Rhythm (1911–13), Blast (1914–15), and Colour Magazine (1914–32) – in mediating responses to visual art and as sites in which the demarcations between word and image could be redefined.
This chapter examines Ellison’s interest in visual art from his college days at Tuskegee Institute to the end of his career. By tracing Ellison’s evolving interest in visual media ranging from sculpture to painting to photography, I demonstrate his consistent attention to visual art. Most importantly, I consider how Ellison’s attention to the world of the visual influences his narrative technique. From his early experiments with short stories and novellas to his work on Invisible Man, essays, and Three Days Before the Shooting. . ., Ellison’s engagement with visual art reflects his sophisticated experimentation with presenting black identity.
The history of art in the Romantic period has usually been considered in secularized terms, with a focus on the genres of portraiture and landscape, and the impact of commercialization and public exhibitions. Religious painting was produced in Britain in these decades, including decorations and altarpieces for Anglican churches by Benjamin West, Henry Thomson, and even the landscape painter John Constable. In fact, religious pictures were produced more frequently and with greater ambition in the early nineteenth century than hitherto. Meanwhile, dissenting and esoteric faith commitments influenced the output of several significant artists, most notably William Blake. This essay explores the major changes in British religious art of the period and reflects on the reasons why religious images have been so often overlooked by mainstream art history.
Both lauded and criticized for his pictorial eclecticism, the Florentine artist Jacopo Carrucci, known as Pontormo, created some of the most visually striking religious images of the Renaissance. These paintings, which challenged prevailing illusionistic conventions, mark a unique contribution into the complex relationship between artistic innovation and Christian traditions in the first half of the sixteenth century. Pontormo's sacred works are generally interpreted as objects that reflect either pure aesthetic experimentation, or personal and cultural anxiety. Jessica Maratsos, however, argues that Pontormo employed stylistic change deliberately for novel devotional purposes. As a painter, he was interested in the various modes of expression and communication - direct address, tactile evocation, affective incitement - as deployed in a wide spectrum of devotional culture, from sacri monti, to Michelangelo's marble sculptures, to evangelical lectures delivered at the Accademia Fiorentina. Maratsos shows how Pontormo translated these modes in ways that prompt a critical rethinking of Renaissance devotional art.
Chapter 7 analyses the history of Copperbelt cultures, focussing on the region’s music and visual art. While Copperbelt migrants expressed their understanding of social change through innovative, syncretic cultural mediums, cultural analysts and curators distinguished between ‘high’ and popular art, promoting artistic authenticity and criticising the supposed ‘Westernisation’ of local cultural expression. The chapter explores the role of Hugh Tracey’s International Library of African Music (ILAM) in curating, representing and promoting Copperbelt music and the curation and analysis of Haut-Katangese painting, both as ‘primitive art’ and as ‘popular painting’, and the ways artists engaged with these forms of knowledge production. It explains how the Zairian and Zambian states sought to produce new national cultures and the ways in which Copperbelt musicians and artists engaged with these initiatives. The chapter explores how social and economic change shaped the development of Copperbelt cultural outputs and how the region’s economic decline led to new innovations in cultural expression that give meaning to its marginalisation and crises, often in nostalgic forms.
Focusing on works by two early nineteenth-century African American artists – the Baltimore portrait painter Joshua Johnson and the author of The Blind African Slave (1810) Boyrereau Brinch – this chapter considers the conceptions of racialized selfhood before 1830. What can we learn from the aesthetic surfaces left by a non-white portraitist about whom not much is known, working within the genre of family portraiture? Additionally, this chapter offers a reading of the visual as central to African American textual production in the early nineteenth century. Early Black writers were keen visual theorists. Brinch’s tale “about” memory and blindness has rarely been considered in relation to the critical tradition of visual culture studies; that this has been so has reduced not only our understanding of a specific African American literary text, but also our understanding of the place of the visual in American cultural production full stop. This chapter considers Johnson’s and Brinch’s surfaces and visuality in relation to early nineteenth-century conceptions of selfhood, race, and interior depth.
Ibsen, who originally wanted to be a painter, came of age at a time when theatre and painting were still considered closely connected art forms. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, painters would paint scenes from plays, and playwrights would create plays inspired by paintings. In their salons, the aristocracy admired pictorial performances known as ‘attitudes’ or ‘living sculptures’ and staged tableaux vivants, theatrical enactments of famous paintings. The constant interaction between the ‘sister arts’ created an aesthetic environment in which it felt natural to think about paintings in dramatic terms and about drama in painterly terms. Thus Ibsen was inspired by painters such as the English Pre-Raphaelites and the Swiss Arnold Böcklin.
Throughout his career, from relatively early works like ‘Terje Vigen’ and Peer Gynt to modern plays like The Wild Duck, The Lady from the Sea, Hedda Gabler, John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken, Ibsen included traditional painterly tableaux in his works. But modernism swept away the idea of ‘sister arts’. Although Ibsen never abandoned his traditional understanding of painting, this chapter shows that in his contemporary plays his traditional visual aesthetics emerges as a seamless part of a new, radically modern vision.
This essay assesses the role of regionalism in interwar Austrian painting with a focus on the Tyrolean painter and architect Alfons Walde (1891–1958). At a time when painting was seen to be in crisis, eclipsed by the deaths of prominent Viennese artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, regionalism offered an alternative engagement with modern art. As the representative of a wider regionalist movement, Walde paved the way for a clearly identifiable image of rural Austria without foregoing the modernization process that took place in the Alps at the time. Filtering essential elements of local culture and synthesizing them with both a modern formal language and “modern” topics, most significantly ski tourism, he created a regionalism that reverberated beyond the narrow confines of his home province and caught particular momentum during the rise of the Austrian Ständestaat in the 1930s. Moving in between regional and national significance, Walde's work underlines the essential position of the region in Austria after 1918 and conveys that an engaged regionalism that responded to the rapid cultural and political changes taking place became a significant aspect of interwar Austrian painting.