Article

Visionary Experience in the Golden Age of Spanish Art

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

In this original and lucid account of how Spanish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries dealt with mystic visions in their art, and of how they attempted to "represent the unrepresentable", Victor Stoichita aims to establish a theory of visionary imagery in Western art in general, and one for the Spanish Counter-Reformation in particular. He reveals how the spirituality of the Counter-Reformation was characterized by a rediscovery of the role of the imagination in the exercise of faith. This had important consequences for painters such as Velazquez, Zurbaran and El Greco, leading to the development of ingenious solutions for visual depictions of mystical experience. This was to crystallize into an overtly meditative and didactic pictorial language. That Spanish painting is both cerebral and passionate is due to the particular historical forces which shaped it. Stoichita's account will be of crucial interest not just to scholars of Spanish art but to anyone interested in how art responds to ideological pressures.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... We are thinking, for example, of the way in which this question was presented in the works ofBelting (2005) andStoichita (1995).52 Rare exceptions areDondero (2012a) andBordron ( , 2013. ...
... In this chapter, we return to many of the reflections formulated in an article published in Nouvelle Revue d'Esthétique(Dondero 2016a) 19Stoichita (2015).20 Stoichita (1995). ...
Book
This book deals with two fundamental issues in the semiotics of the image. The first is the relationship between image and observer: how does one look at an image? To answer this question, this book sets out to transpose the theory of enunciation formulated in linguistics over to the visual field. It also aims to clarify the gains made in contemporary visual semiotics relative to the semiology of Roland Barthes and Emile Benveniste. The second issue addressed is the relation between the forces, forms and materiality of the images. How do different physical mediums (pictorial, photographic and digital) influence visual forms? How does materiality affect the generativity of forms? On the forces within the images, the book addresses the philosophical thought of Gilles Deleuze and René Thom as well as the experiment of Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne. The theories discussed in the book are tested on a variety of corpora for analysis, including both paintings and photographs, taken from traditional as well as contemporary sources in a variety of social sectors (arts and sciences). Finally, semiotic methodology is contrasted with the computational analysis of large collections of images (Big Data), such as the “Media Visualization” analyses proposed by Lev Manovich and Cultural Analytics in the field of Computer Science to evaluate the impact of automatic analysis of visual forms on Digital Art History and more generally on the image sciences.
... We are thinking, for example, of the way in which this question was presented in the works ofBelting (2005) andStoichita (1995).52 Rare exceptions areDondero (2012a) andBordron ( , 2013. ...
... In this chapter, we return to many of the reflections formulated in an article published in Nouvelle Revue d'Esthétique(Dondero 2016a) 19Stoichita (2015).20 Stoichita (1995). ...
Chapter
Although semiotics of the structuralist tradition, which devoted itself to the theorization and analysis of visual language in the 1980s and 1990s, did not directly
... On account of its particular interpretation of the doctrine of Incarnation -and by virtue of it-Catholicism has always maintained a deep, even ontological, relationship with images and their mediations (Didi-Huberman & Repensek, 1984;Freedberg, 1989;Menozzi, 1995). Starting as early as the Baroque times, the use of architectures as vast scenic apparati, along with a new conception of the frame and of the pictorial form itself (Careri, 2017;Stoichita, 1995), led to a fundamental reconfiguration in this relationship; a 'modulation' -and specifically a 'reduction'-in the perceptual, and thus mental, distance from the divine. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an exploratory examination of video-mediated classroom interaction in School and University settings, a modality of teaching and learning which has recently experienced a rapid growth as a consequence of the COVID-19 emergency. Based on a corpus of audio and video recorded virtual classes, we analyze how instructors and students cope with the challenges of not being physically co-present and lacking direct visual contact in the virtual enviroment, and discuss how fundamental mechanisms of face-to-face classroom interaction –participants’ mutual orientation in the opening phase, speakers’ identification and recognition, as well as instructors’ actions like comprehension checks, solicitations for questions/comments, questions and evaluations– are partially modified in the virtual environment, making it more complex, for instructors, to enhance students’ active participation. Final considerations are devoted to the possible implications of these preliminary findings.
... the lactation of St Bernard (Stoichita 1995). In all the images involving the Lactatio Bernardi the gush falling from the Madonna's breast -who never offers any real physical contact -transmits divine knowledge. ...
Article
Full-text available
Longing for food has always had different implications for men and women: associated with power and strength for men, it tends to have a worrying proximity to sexual pleasure for women. Showing an interesting parallelism throughout the Cinquecento, Italian humanists and teachers insisted on forbidding women music and gluttony. Food and music were both considered dangerous stimulants for the female senses, and every woman was encouraged to consider herself as a kind of food to be offered to the only human beings authorized to feel and satisfy desires: men and babies. Women could properly express themselves only inside monastic circles: the most prolific female composer of the seventeenth century was a nun, as was the first woman who wrote down recipes. Elaborate music and food became the means to maintain a lively relationship with the external world. Moreover, nuns also escaped male control by using the opposite system of affirming themselves through fasting and mortifying the flesh.
... The representation of Saint Andrew himself is also relevant to the topic of alternative sensorialities. Like many other saints and martyrs, his gaze is directed upwards, to a place invisible to us, spectators and mortals; his sense of sight relinquishes the physical interaction with concrete reality in favour of a spiritual visual experience -visual, but not simply and clearly visible, to follow a distinction made by Georges Didi-Huberman (2005; for the complexities of 'vision' in the Spanish Baroque context, see Stoichita 1995). The saint's right hand is haptically absorbed, reaffirming his own physical existence, and reminds us that, while spiritually floating in ethereal spheres, he is also present here and now, his body feeling itself and his surroundings -all that he does not see anymore. ...
Article
Full-text available
One of the oft-neglected aspects of early Baroque painting is its critical stance vis-à-vis renaissance’s ideal of pure and perfect visibility. The origins of this standpoint can be traced to the art of Caravaggio, but it is the Hispano-Neapolitan painter Jusepe de Ribera who brings it to a culmination of sorts, in a sustained pictorial quest for a novel sensorial pragmatics. Ribera’s representations of martyrdom, in particular, create a fascinating play between saints’ tactile experience of their suffering, their complex, often-deficient visual perception, and the viewer’s limited access to visual information when reconstructing the narrative on the basis of pictorial evidence. In this article, I analyse Ribera’s creation of mock-tactile textures through purely visual techniques, and the implications of such an artistic method for the hierarchy of the senses in the devotional context of Neapolitan culture in the first half of the seventeenth century. Gilles Deleuze’s analysis of Francis Bacon in The Logic of Sensation and Steven Connor’s observations on skin’s place in modern culture are brought also to bear on Ribera’s epidermal painting and its subversion of ocularcentrism.
... The paradoxical character of all the arts in modern society, therefore, was their commitment to represent the non-representational aspect of reality; to convey the mute presence otherwise withdrawn to some remote corner of the world. Through appearance alone the arts sought to make present that which had no appearance (while the sciences, it might be added, revealed the mechanisms of Nature which lay hidden within and beneath that appearance) (Marin, 1999;Stoichita, 1995Stoichita, , 1997. ...
Article
The article considers some aspects of the problem of both individual & collective identity in the context of the development of different kinds of warfare in modern western society. The elucidation of these relations requires an unexpected application of aesthetic ideas; in particular the notion of the sublime. It is argued that the experience of combat is one possible 'real' form of the sublime. It is further suggested, paradoxically, that sublime combat cannot actually be experienced; it is an 'inexperience'. The historical significance of modern western war literature, thus, is just that it fills the 'gap' left by the destructive inexperience of combat & it allows those who endured it, as well as those who did not, to construct a 'memory' of the events themselves.
Article
Straipsnyje sapnų ir vizijų pristatymas Pamokslininkų ordino įkūrėjo šv. Dominyko (Domingo de Caleruega, apie 1174–1221) ikografijoje aptariamas remiantis XVI–XVIII a. Vilniaus pranciškonų ir dominikonų vienuolynų aplinkoje sukurtų dailės kūrinių pavyzdžiais. Lyginant atvaizdus su juos įkvėpusiais pasakojimais, užrašytais pirmajame šventojo gyvenimo aprašyme, vėlesnėse biografijose ir legendose įvardijami skirtingi sapnų ir vizijų vaizdavimo būdai: pasakojimo pristatymas per šv. Dominyko atributus, Pamokslininkų ordino veiklą simbolizuojančią šventojo figūrą arba „čia ir dabar“ vykstančios vizijos kompozicijas. Aptariama, kaip pastarasis žanras, išpopuliarėjęs baroko dailėje, savo įtaigumu nustelbė ankstesnius regėjimų vaizdavimo būdus ir leido šv. Dominyko ikonografijoje įtvirtinti vėlesnes legendas apie vizijas. Atkreipiant dėmesį į šv. Dominyko figūros komponavimą analizuojamuose kūriniuose, aptariamas šventojo vaidmuo sapnų ir vizijų atvaizduose.
Article
O presente artigo pretende mostrar como a teoria semiótica da interpretação de textos nos permite acessar à leitura de textos religiosos visuais e ao conhecimento que eles contêm e pretendem transmitir. A semiologia das imagens estuda as imagens como textos ou discursos e, no caso das imagens religiosas, como textos que remetem a outro texto, isto é, à religião como sistema de comunicação e elaboração de mensagens. Em consequência, as teorias da enunciação elaboradas em função dos textos linguísticos devem poder ser transpostas para a semiótica visual. Podemos encontrar nas imagens um correspondente analógico da enunciação linguística: a enunciação visual. Serão analisadas as modalidades pessoal, temporal e espacial da enunciação enunciada, com exemplos tirados da pintura religiosa ocidental.
Chapter
Full-text available
In a unique approach to historical representations, the central question of this book is “what is history?” By describing “history” through its supplementary function to the field of history, rather than the ground of a study, this collection considers new insights into historical thinking and historiography across the humanities. It fosters engagement from around the disciplines in historical thinking and, from that, invites historians and philosophers of history to see clearly the impact of their work outside of their own specific fields, and encourages deep reflection on the role of historical production in society. IAs such, Theories of History opens up for the first time a truly cross-disciplinary dialogue on history and is a unique intervention in the study of historical representation. Essays in this volume discuss music history, linguistics, theater studies, paintings, film, archaeology and more. This book is essential reading for those interested in the practice and theories of history, philosophy, and the humanities more broadly. Readers of this volume are not only witness to, but also part of the creation of, radical new discourses in and ways of thinking about, doing and experiencing history.
Chapter
To this point, we have examined issues surrounding the models of communication inscribed within images as well as the conflicts in terms of presence these images may exhibit.
Article
This article discusses Scientology’s “golden age” narrative. The first section discusses Scientology’s hagiographic production of L. Ron Hubbard, which presents him as a cultural producer and hero of the American golden age of entertainment. Scientology connects elements of Hubbard’s sacred biography with the secular realm by suggesting that the same extraordinary experiences that led to the discovery of Dianetics and Scientology also informed his fiction writing. The second section uses Michael Toth’s model of “dual charisma” to frame the connection between Hubbard’s charisma and the authority of Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige. Scientology’s golden age narrative promotes a “renaissance” envisioned by Hubbard and realized under Miscavige; it bridges the past “otherworldly” charisma of Hubbard, the present executive acuity of Miscavige, and the prospect of a future “cleared” planet brought about by rapid international expansion. The conclusion suggests that Scientology’s golden age is an innovation that responds to changing conditions in the modern media environment by providing an identifiable narrative that is to some degree universal but also unique to Scientology. It connects the past, present, and future as well as the charisma of the church’s founder with the authority of its current leader. It is both external and internal communication that solidifies David Miscavige’s authority within Scientology.
Article
Painted in 1508, Raphael's “Saint Catherine of Alexandria” is animated by innovative pictorial techniques using light, shadow, and color. Yet scholars have scarcely discussed its dazzling palette or sought to explain the image's meaning. I argue that Raphael's “Saint Catherine” exemplifies the artist's thematic interpretation of divine revelation in optical terms. Aristotelian theories of vision illuminate new dimensions of Raphael's engagement with scientific and theological sight. From this examination, new criteria for identifying the painting's patron emerge. By reframing the “Saint Catherine” within the rubric of contemporary optics, color's role as an allegory for Raphael's subject comes increasingly to light.
Chapter
Full-text available
It is a truth generally acknowledged that religions have been the earliest and perhaps the chief progenitors of cultural products in human societies. Mesopotamian urban centres developed from large temple complexes, Greek drama emerged from religious festivals dedicated to deities including Dionysos and Athena, and in more recent times Christianity has inspired artistic masterpieces including the ‘St Matthew Passion’ by the Lutheran Johann Sebastian Bach (1686-1750), the motets of the Catholic William Byrd (1540-1623), and the striking paintings of the Counter-Reformation Spaniards Ribera, Zurbaran and Murillo in the seventeenth century. The Indian religious tradition contributes the magnificent Hindu and Buddhist temples of Angkor (Cambodia), and the exquisite Chola bronze statues, and Islam the sophisticated Timurid illustrated manuscripts of Firdausi’s Shahnama. Many more examples could be adduced, including forms of dance, systems of education, theories of government, special diets, and modes of costume and fashion.
Chapter
‘Nowhere,’ Jonathan Bate writes of the final scene in The Winter’s Tale, ‘is there a creative coup more wonderful.’1 Indeed, Paulina’s carefully orchestrated unveiling of the marvelous statue astonishes, perplexes, and surprises, holding on-stage spectators and theater audiences alike rapt with wonder. But if Shakespeare seeks, with Paulina, to ‘strike all that look upon’ his spectacle ‘with marvel,’ he also self-reflexively explores the nature of theatrical wonder itself in this play.2 Contrasting the admiration aroused by Paulina’s wondrous statue with that elicited by Autolycus’s dazzling but duplicitous theatrics, he raises compelling questions about the role of trickery, sense perception, and collective desire in the production of theatrical wonder. He asks, too, why verbal accounts reporting the ‘admiration,’ ‘notable passion of wonder,’ and ‘deal of wonder’ aroused when Perdita’s true identity is discovered fail to produce the feelings of wonder they describe (5.2.10, 13–14, 21). And, by invoking the language of religious awe at the dramatic unveiling of the statue, he entertains a relation between theological and theatrical wonder.
Chapter
Church Reform in Spain Art after the Council of Trent Iconography The Religious Orders Art in Daily Life Additional Participatory Elements Devotion to the Virgin Secular Arts Conclusion Notes Bibliography
Thesis
Full-text available
This dissertation examines the verisimilitude in the Spanish religious art of the 17th century. The various aspects of this verisimilitude, including naturalism and realism in their different forms, are explored through Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s theory of society as the main influence for stylistic changes, and by looking at the purely stylistic influence from both Italy and the North. The varying levels of verisimilitude are outlined, from unidealized depictions of saints and clergy in painting, to the hyper-realism of the polychrome sculptures of the Passion of Christ. As such, this dissertation will present the levels of verisimilitude reached in the artistic output in 17th century Spain and explore the influence of the surrounding society, including the theology and the artistic theories of the time. It will then examine the similarities and differences between Spain and the main artistic influences of Italy and the Netherlands. This will show that, despite the two-way influences and the apparent similarities between the visual language in the three areas, Spain reached new heights in illusionism and realism that the context did not require or allow in the two other countries.
Article
The veil's reiterated visibility in Mexican black and white photography is as multi-layered as its material trace is two-dimensional. As a perceptual conceit, the veil stretches to the periphrases of sacred speech and metaphysical exegesis, turning the commonplace cloth — the sábana, mantel, huipil and rebozo — into something meaningful through being overlooked. The interplay of presence and absence characterizes its formal entanglement with photography and pictorial art. Mexican photography's scenography of drapery and the veil seems haunted by the aposcopic gestures of a tradition of religious Christian painting in which 'sight' and its exertions were a central theme. This article does not promise to effect the unveiling of the veil in Mexican photography, but to enter imaginatively into a transaction with its locales and displays, so as to gauge the character of its continued fascination. The subject lends itself to a kind of interpretative torsion — a spiral turning against the platitudinous exhibition of identities. The article discusses work by Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Héctor García, Mariana Yampolsky, Antonio Reynoso, Luis Márquez, Yolanda Andrade, Pedro Meyer, Tina Modotti, Graciela Iturbide, Rafael Doniz, Kati Horna, Bernice Kolko, Flor Garduño, and Francisco Mata Rosas. It revolves around four guiding threads suggested by titles and phrases related to the photographic material and its contexts: 1) La Verónica, 2) El rebozo nacional, 3) La ley de la sábana, 4) Huipil de tapar. Spanish El ensayo se propone investigar la persistente e irreducible presencia del velo y sus repercusiones simbólicas y conceptuales en el ámbito de la fotografía en México. Abarca la obra de fotógrafos clásicos como Manuel y Lola Álvarez Bravo, Héctor García, Mariana Yampolsky, Antonio Reynoso, Luis Márquez, Yolanda Andrade, Pedro Meyer, Tina Modotti, Graciela Iturbide, Rafael Doniz, Kati Horna, Bernice Kolko, Flor Garduño, y Francisco Mata Rosas. El argumento se despliega alrededor de cuatro temas relacionados al material fotográfico y sus contextos: 1) La Verónica, 2)El rebozo nacional, 3) La ley de la sábana, 4) Huipil de tapar.
Chapter
Robert Hooke’s Micrographia of 1665 is an epochal work in the history of scientific representation. With microscopes and other optical devices, Hooke drew and then oversaw the engraving of Micrographia’s plates, images that amount to little less than revelations from beneath the range of human vision (Fig. 1). In bristling detail, molds flower into putrid bloom, crystals protrude like warts from mineral skins and, for the first time in history, cells are brought to the eyes of a general viewership. So historical scholarship has shown us, Hooke was especially well equipped to make these wondrous images. A product of Oxford’s lively scientific community of the 1650s and a protégé of the chemist Robert Boyle, he possessed intimate knowledge of the “new sciences” of the seventeenth century and a particular gift as an experimentalist.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.