Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image / Edition 1

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Overview

Michael Ann Holly asserts that historical interpretation of the pictorial arts is always the intellectual product of a dynamic exchange between past and present. recent theory emphasizes the subjectivity of the historian and the ways in which any interpretation betrays the presence of an interpreter. In Past Looking, she challenges that view, arguing that historical objects of representational art are actively engaged in prefiguring the kinds of histories that can be written about them. Holly directs her attention to early modern works of visual art and their rhetorical roles in legislating the kind of tales told bout them by a few classic cultural commentaries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Burckhardt's synchronic vision of the Italian Renaissance, Wölfflin's exemplification of the Baroque, Schapiro's and Freud's dispute over the meanings of Leonardo's art, and Panofsky's exegesis of the disguised symbolism of Northern Renaissance painting.
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Editorial Reviews

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"A strangely moving book to read. . . . Surely our desire to experience a kind of privileged timelessness before images—or our satisfaction with signification of any kind—has something to do with the consciousness of our own historicity; surely the challenge of art history, the challenge posed by the deep fascination of old art—or those faces from the past, so similar to our own, yet not our own—is like an encounter with the uncanny, with that otherness in which we discern our own end. A critical art history—like philosophy, like psychoanalysis—ought to take implications of that encounter seriously."—Robert Williams, Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1998
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801483028
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
1 Telling a Picture 1
2 Picturing Cultural History 29
3 Looking into the Past 64
4 Imagining the Baroque 91
5 Writing Leonardo Backwards 112
6 Witnessing an Annunciation 149
7 Reading Critical Theory 170
Index 209
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