Art's Agency and Art History

Art's Agency and Art History

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1405135387

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Art's Agency and Art History re-articulates the relationship of the anthropology of art to key methodological and theoretical approaches in art history, sociology, and linguistics.

  • Explores important concepts and perspectives in the anthropology of art
  • Includes nine groundbreaking case studies by an internationally renowned group of art historians and art theorists
  • Covers a wide range of periods, including Bronze-Age China, Classical Greece, Rome, and Mayan, as well as the modern Western world
  • Features an introductory essay by leading experts, which helps clarify issues in the field
  • Includes numerous illustrations

Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers

The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in Nineteenth-Century Japan

Rembrandt's Reading: The Artist's Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History

A Survival Guide for Art History Students

No Medium

The Temples of Kyoto
















deity Marduk is expected to play an active role, mediating through communication acts between heavenly intention and the earthly community.24 That statues are accorded agency specifically through their ability to speak is not limited to polytheistic traditions. A primary aspect of the Christian cult of images, particularly within Roman Catholicism, is the miraculous intervention of images, especially of the Virgin Mary. Even in iconoclastic phases, words can be put into the mouth of the cult

incoming to and stored within the mind ‘‘by means of confrontation, analogy, similarity and combination, with some contribution from reasoning also,’’ to determine the status of impressions and to use them as the basis for elaborating abstract knowledge: thus, the idea of the center of the earth (not observable) can be constructed on the basis of analogy from the experience of a small ball.39 Not surprisingly, since the Epicurean poet Lucretius is one of the sources Gell uses in constructing his

him to be an advocate with God on behalf of them all.’’60 That this model of Christian-style flesh-body portrait failed to catch on is not simply a function of a technological deficit: after all the closest models, both visually and geographically, for early Christian icons are the late Roman portraits from the Fayum in Egypt, which originally covered the faces of mummies.61 It was selected against by specific historical factors, and more general cultural ones including the ontology of the icon

were employed because the technology was more efficient than other methods and allows the production of multiples of the image in question. A recent study of refuse at a Moche ceramic workshop suggests that the issue is more complicated than previously thought.2 The sum of the evidence and interpretations from it suggest that the use of molds was more difficult and complicated than if vessels had been made more straightforwardly, by hand building in the case of portrait vessels, for example. Many

Enchantment.’’ Chapters 2–5 of Art and Agency develop the art nexus concept in some detail, and represent the core of Gell’s new approach to art analysis. Gell’s conceptual panoply is in fact remarkably economical. He works from just four base concepts – artist, index, prototype, recipient – related to each other as ‘‘agents’’ or ‘‘patients’’ primarily through a cognitive operation Gell calls ‘‘abduction.’’ His whole framework is elaborated through the systematic exploration of the possible

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