The Body in Pieces: The Fragment as a Metaphor of Modernity

Overview

By the end of the eighteenth century a sense of anxiety and crisis began to preoccupy European writers and artists in their relationship to the heroic past, from antiquity on. The grandness of that intellectual tradition could no longer fit into the framework of the present, and artists felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of past heroic accomplishment. Beginning with artists such as Fuseli, this was soon reflected in artistic representation. The partial image, the "crop," fragmentation, ruin and mutilation - all ...
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Overview

By the end of the eighteenth century a sense of anxiety and crisis began to preoccupy European writers and artists in their relationship to the heroic past, from antiquity on. The grandness of that intellectual tradition could no longer fit into the framework of the present, and artists felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of past heroic accomplishment. Beginning with artists such as Fuseli, this was soon reflected in artistic representation. The partial image, the "crop," fragmentation, ruin and mutilation - all expressed nostalgia and grief for the loss of a vanished totality, a utopian wholeness. Often, such feelings were expressed in deliberate destructiveness and this became the new way of seeing: the notion of the modern. The "crop" constituted a distinctively modern view of the world, the essence of modernity itself. The French Revolution was not only an historical event that instituted and canonized deliberate fragmentation, but also in some cases the reverse: Jacques-Louis David and other Neo-classical artists tried, at least allegorically and metaphorically, to repair the broken link with the perceived wholeness of the past. In The Body in Pieces, Linda Nochlin traces these developments as they have been expressed in representations of the human figure - fragmented, mutilated and fetishistic - by looking at work produced by artists from Neo-classicism and Romanticism to the Impressionists, the Post-Impressionists, the Surrealists and beyond.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500283059
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Walter Neurath Memorial Lectures Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 953,601
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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