Blindness: The History of a Mental Image in Western Thought

Overview

This is a remarkable study of how Western culture has represented blindness, especially in that most visual of arts, painting. Moshe Barasch draws upon not only the span of art history from antiquity to the eighteenth century but also the classical and biblical traditions that underpin so much of artistic representation: Blind Homer, the healing of the blind, blind musicians, blindness as punishment, blindness as a special mark. The book discusses blindness in antiquity, in the Early Christian world, in the ...

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Blindness: The History of a Mental Image in Western Thought

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Overview

This is a remarkable study of how Western culture has represented blindness, especially in that most visual of arts, painting. Moshe Barasch draws upon not only the span of art history from antiquity to the eighteenth century but also the classical and biblical traditions that underpin so much of artistic representation: Blind Homer, the healing of the blind, blind musicians, blindness as punishment, blindness as a special mark. The book discusses blindness in antiquity, in the Early Christian world, in the Middle Ages, and in the Renaissance, with a final consideration of Diderot.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Art historian Barasch (Hebrew U., Jerusalem) explores the question of how earlier civilizations reacted to, interpreted, and represented blindness. In this thought-provoking short volume (he states at the outset his history is neither exhaustive or conclusive) he considers these issues in antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Baroque<-->with discussion of various types of blind people, such as poets and musicians, physical blindness as a symbol of spiritual blindness, and the five senses. The unusually fair-minded view found in Denis Diderot's is discussed in conclusion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415927437
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/11/2001
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Moshe Barasch is Jack Cotton Professor of Architecture and Fine Arts at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of many books on art history and the theory of art. A winner of the Israel Prize in 1996, he was recently elected corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Antiquity 7
Attitudes of the Bible 12
Classical Antiquity: Causes of Blindness 18
Blindness and Guilt 21
The Blind Seer 28
Ate 33
Visual Representations 36
A Concluding Note 43
2 The Blind in the Early Christian World 45
The Healing of the Blind 47
Blindness and Revelation: The Story of Paul 56
A Concluding Observation 64
3 The Middle Ages 67
The Antichrist 68
Allegorical Blindness 77
The Blind Beggar 92
The Blind and His Guide 103
4 The Renaissance and Its Sequel 115
The Blind Beggar 116
Metaphorical Blindness 121
The Revival of the Blind Seer 130
Early Secularizations of the Blind 136
5 The Disenchantment of Blindness: Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles 147
Notes 159
Index 181
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