The Sinister Side: How Left-Right Symbolism Shaped Western Art

The Sinister Side: How Left-Right Symbolism Shaped Western Art

by James Hall
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199230862

ISBN-13: 9780199230860

Pub. Date: 12/30/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

The Sinister Side is the first book to detail the richness and subtlety of left-right symbolism since the Renaissance, and to show how it was a catalyst for some of the greatest works of visual art from Leonardo and Michelangelo to Rembrandt and Picasso. Traditionally, the left side was regarded as evil, weak, and worldly, but with the Renaissance, artists began to

Overview

The Sinister Side is the first book to detail the richness and subtlety of left-right symbolism since the Renaissance, and to show how it was a catalyst for some of the greatest works of visual art from Leonardo and Michelangelo to Rembrandt and Picasso. Traditionally, the left side was regarded as evil, weak, and worldly, but with the Renaissance, artists began to represent the left side as the side that represented authentic human feelings and especially love. Writers including Lorenzo de' Medici, Michelangelo, and Winckelmann hailed the supreme moral and aesthetic beauty of the left side. Images of lovers foreground the left side of the body, emphasizing its refinement and sensitivity. In the late nineteenth century, with the rise of interest in the occult and in spiritualism, the left side becomes associated with the taboo and with the unconscious. James Hall's insightful discussion of left and right symbolism helps us to see how the self and the mind were perceived during these periods, and gives us a new key to understanding art in its social and intellectual context.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199230860
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/30/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

Antiquity and After

Part 1 Turning Right

1 Avoiding the Beer-Cellar: Left-Right Conventions 14

2 Heraldic Images 25

3 Fair Game 39

4 Sun and Moon 68

Renaissance to Enlightenment

Part 2 Contesting Left and Right

5 Darkened Eyes 94

Part 3 Balancing Left and Right

6 The Choice of Hercules 126

7 Double Vision 142

8 Rembrandt's Eyes 155

Part 4 Turning Left

9 The Death of Christ 1: Crossing Over 168

10 The Death of Christ 2: 'Not Idle' 188

11 Courtly Love 211

12 Fragile Beauty 233

13 Leonardo and the Look of Love 252

14 Prisoners of Love 259

15 Lovelocks 278

16 Honorary Left-Handers 288

Modernity

Part 5 Rethinking Left and Right

17 'To Err Forever' 313

18 Picasso and Chiromancy 326

19 Picasso and Satanism 342

20 Modern Primitives 361

Coda

21 God Save the Queen 379

Notes 385

Index 463

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