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

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

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