On the Problem of Describing and Interpreting Works of the Visual Arts

Critical Inquiry 38 (3):467-482 (2012)

Abstract
In the eleventh of his Antiquarian Letters, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing discusses a phrase from Lucian's description of the painting by Zeuxis called A Family of Centaurs: ‘at the top of the painting a centaur is leaning down as if from an observation point, smiling’ . ‘This as if from an observation point, Lessing notes, obviously implies that Lucian himself was uncertain whether this figure was positioned further back, or was at the same time on higher ground. We need to recognize the logic of ancient bas-reliefs where figures further to the back look over those at the front, not because they are actually positioned above them but because they are meant to appear as if standing behind.'1 · 1. The passage is in George Lessing, Briefe, antiquarischen Inhalts , p. 81. Panofsky's discussion does not note that the original text of Lucian makes clear that what is described is a copy of the original painting . This means that some of the issues of misunderstanding situated by Lessing and Panofsky in Lucian's court may in principle be attributable to the copyist. This makes no difference to the conceptual thrust of Panofsky's case.—Trans
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/664547
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,201
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Peirce, Panofsky, and the Gothic. Wagner - 2012 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (4):436.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Philosophy of the Visual Arts.Philip Alperson (ed.) - 1992 - Oxford University Press.
Describing and Interpreting Works of Art.Joseph Margolis - 1960 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (4):537-542.
Erasmus and the Visual Arts.Erwin Panofsky - 1969 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 32:200-227.
Works and Performances in the Performing Arts.David Davies - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):744-755.
The'real Realm'.Dianc Hill - 1999 - In Ian Heywood & Barry Sandywell (eds.), Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual. Routledge. pp. 143.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-13

Total views
21 ( #449,504 of 2,289,672 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #839,123 of 2,289,672 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature