Gravity in Art: Essays on Weight and Weightlessness in Painting, Sculpture and Photography

Overview

The gravitational pull of the earth and the challenge to resist it have long inspired artists. Like the Greek vases depicting Sisyphus's endless quest to push his boulder up a hill and the Whirlwind Lovers in Dante's Inferno, images that portray the defiance of gravity or submission to it permeate the artistic world. This collection examines the ways artists from antiquity to today use gravity and levity symbolically, metaphorically, and expressively.

The 26 essays examine ...

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Overview

The gravitational pull of the earth and the challenge to resist it have long inspired artists. Like the Greek vases depicting Sisyphus's endless quest to push his boulder up a hill and the Whirlwind Lovers in Dante's Inferno, images that portray the defiance of gravity or submission to it permeate the artistic world. This collection examines the ways artists from antiquity to today use gravity and levity symbolically, metaphorically, and expressively.

The 26 essays examine these opposing forces through analysis of such dualities as ascent and descent, weight and weightlessness, hope and despair, or life and death, and draw distinct lines between the works of art and texts of such writers and thinkers as Homer, Aristotle, Newton, Marx and Einstein. Together, they demonstrate that as our ideas about this essential force or space-time concept change, so too, do artists create new ways to represent visually the phenomenon of gravity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786465743
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2012
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary D. Edwards is a professor of art history at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her articles have appeared in Studies in Iconography, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Elizabeth Bailey is a professor of art history at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Her work has been published in Speculum and Explorations in Renaissance Culture.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction Mary D. Edwards Elizabeth Bailey 1

Part 1 Ancient Through Nineteenth-Century Art

The Flight of Icarus in the House of the Priest Amandus in Pompeii Bettina Bergmann 13

Levitating Gods and Dream imagery on Roman Coinage Constantin A. Marinescu 22

Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg Elizabeth Bailey 35

Descent, Elevation and Ascent: Oppositional Forces in the Strozzi di Mantova Chapel Kathleen Giles Arthur 50

Altichiero, Giotto, Dante and the Metaphorical Use of Gravity and Levity Mary D. Edwards 72

The Floating Book: A Reading of Saint Dominic's Miraculous Book in Italian Art in the Late Thirteenth through the Early Fifteenth Centuries Elizabeth Bailey 86

Leaps of Faith in the Portinari Altarpiece of Hugo van der Goes Mary D. Edwards 107

The Idea of Weightlessness in Girolamo da Carpi's Kairos and Penitentia (Opportunity and Penitence) Martina Pfleger Hesser 119

Erotic Fallout in Bernini's Apollo and Daphne Perry Brooks 126

The Suspension of Gravity in Giandomenico Tiepolo's Punchinelli on a Swing Johanna Fassl 137

An Uplifting Finale for Jacques-Louis David: Coming to Peace with Mars Disarmed Katie Hanson 147

Mind Over Matter: Levitation and the Defiance of Nature in Late Nineteenth-Century Painting Sarah Lippert 163

Perilous Flight: Icarus' Transgression of Masculinity Jongwoo Jeremy Kim 181

Part 2 Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Art

The Joy of Breathing: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Uplift in the Art of Arthur B. Davies Robin Veder 198

Gravitace, or Gravity in the Social and Artistic Thought of Bohumil Kubišta Eleanor F. Moseman 212

Joseph Cornell's Universe: Gravity's Attractions Kirsten Hoving 235

Pipe Dreams: In Search of an Allegorical Magritte Sandra Zalman 243

Falling to Heaven: Salvador Dali, Marcel Pagés and Levity at "the Centre of the Universe" Elliott H. King 253

"The Effort of the Dance": Gravity and Levity in the Poured Paintings of Jackson Pollock Elizabeth L. Langhorne 265

Piero Manzoni's Socle du Monde Gregory Tentler 277

Gravity and the Grave: Jasper Johns and the Metaphorics of the Fall Isabelle Loring Wallace 283

From Vertigo to Ethereality in Environmental Art Matthew Kolodziej 293

Falling Bodies and the Problem of Remembrance: Eric Fischl's Tumbling Woman Adrienne Posner 304

AA Bronson's Hanged Man: Martyrdom, Ambiguity, and Abu Ghraib Andrea D. Fitzpatrick 314

Photographic Moments inside of Gravity: Kerry Skarbakka's Struggle to Right Himself Corey Dzenko 326

Mariko Mori and Pipilotti Rist: Reflections on the "New Levity" in Art Elizabeth Bailey 338

Epilogue Mary D. Edwards 342

About the Contributors 346

Index 350

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