Merleau-Ponty’s Artist of Depth: Exploring “Eye and Mind” and the Works of Art Chosen by Merleau-Ponty as Preface

PhaenEx 7 (1):244-274 (2012)
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The original Gallimard edition of Merleau-Ponty’s last-published essay, "Eye and Mind," which was printed as a slim, separate volume containing only this essay, includes a visual preface of seven artworks, chosen by Merleau-Ponty. This essay takes the key assertion of "Eye and Mind"—that rather than seeing depth as the “third dimension,” as seen traditionally, “if [depth] were a dimension, it would be the first one” (180)—and applies it to the reading of these artworks preceding the text. There is an analysis of how and why depth is the first rank in not only rethinking art, but also in rethinking Being itself. The development of the idea of depth as the going together of incompossibles in time and in space is explored by turning to Merleau-Ponty’s texts, beginning with the Phenomenology of Perception through to his last works. The last section of the essay carefully analyses six of the seven visual works of art (omitting Cézanne about whom so much has been written) to see the ways in which they instantiate this new notion of depth as the motive force of art and the heart of the flesh of the world



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Glen Mazis
Pennsylvania State University

References found in this work

Time at the Depth of the World.Glen A. Mazis - 2010 - In Kascha Semonovitch Neal DeRoo (ed.), Merleau-Ponty at the Limits of Art, Religion, and Perception. Continuum. pp. 120--146.

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