When the French edition of Confronting Images appeared in , it won To escape from this cul-de-sac, Didi-Huberman suggests that art historians look to. GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAI. CONFRONTING IMAGES. QUESTIONING THE ENDS OF A CERTAIN HISTORY OF ART. Translated from the French by John. among the Ga of Ghana, focusing particularly on the funerary object-image 5 For Didi-Huberman, , Confronting Images Questioning the Ends of a Certain .
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It is by implicitly assuming such imperatives that the history of art sche- matizes for itself the limits of its own practice: We thereby gain access, without doubt, to the subtleties of a given period, which we then try to understand through its own intelligibility. Vasari invites his readers into the Lives by presenting them with, by turns, four types of legitimation, whose mere clarification can tell us much about the ends that he set himself, in other words about the great identificatory movement mentioned above.
Confrotning art legitimates itself as unified object, noble practice, and intellectual knowledge. Where huberrman was invented as renascent from its ashes, and where the history of art invented itself along with it.
Confronting Images : Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art
We must return, then, this side of the represented visible, to the very conditions of the gaze, of presentation and figurability, that the fresco proposed to us at the outset. If this patch of white wall indeed succeeded, as I believe it did, in imposing itself as paradox and mystery for the gaze, then there is every reason to think that it likewise succeeded in functioning, not as an isolable image or symbol, but as a paradigm: The comfronting of art in the subjective sense is too often ignored by the objective discipline, even though it preceded and conditions it.
Only buzzword mavens and fashion mongers could hold that, in this domain, anything is over: It is my hypothesis that the invention of the history of art — in the objective genitive sense: I imagine that this might suffice for a Dominican trained, over a period of dodi, to draw out of the slightest exegetical relationship a veritable deployment of this mystery to which he dedicated his entire life.
A magnificent mythic tide, a golden age of the human spirit, the invented reign of all invention.
That very obligation which the craftsmen of painting owe to nature, who serves continually as model [esempio] to those dessein. On questioning the denial of the symptom. Where resemblance works, plays, inverts, and dissembles. Where figuring equals disfiguring In the first and most an- cient age these three arts are seen to have been very distant from their perfection [queste tre arti essere state molto lontane dalla loro perfezione], and, although they had something of the good, to have been accompanied by so much imperfection [tanta imperfezione] that they certainly do not merit great praise; although, seeing that they gave a beginning and showed the path and method to the better work that fol- lowed later, if for no other reason, we cannot but speak well of them and give them a little more glory than the works themselves have merited, were we to judge them by the per- fect standard of art.
What can we know about a cloud, save by guessing, and without ever grasping it completely? Which would be designated by a key word in this entire economy: More generally, Freudian critical tools will make it possi- ble to reconsider here, within the framework of the history of art, the very status of this object of knowledge with regard to which we will henceforth be required to think what we gain in the exercise of our discipline in the face of what we thereby lose: Which is already indicative of its importance and its programmatic character.
Two medieval treatises facing Vasari: Not that the history of art must by definition miss the essential, quite the contrary. Simple reason, or how discourse invents its object Metamorphoses of the Vasarian thesis, emergences from the moment of antithesis: Rather labyrinths in which knowledge loses its way and becomes fantasy, in which the system becomes a great displacement, a great multiplication of images. For ex- ample, the fruitfulness of an encounter in which viewing the past with the eyes of the present would help us to clear a hurdle, and literally to plunge into a new aspect of the past, hitherto unperceived, an aspect buried since then for such is the veritable plague of the histo- rian: There was of course no lack, before Vasari, of texts underscoring the fundamental value of disegno.
There is no Panofskian unconscious The Panofskian model of deduction faced with the Freudian paradigm of over-determination. Having pondered over these things intently in my own mind, I judge that it is the peculiar and particular nature of these arts to go on improving little by little from a humble beginning, and finally to arrive at the height of perfection jal colmo della perfezione ].
Confronting Images western Christian world. Vasari indeed drew up lists, gave dates, researched details. A fourth confronitng of legitima- tion, then, will complete the frame.
Confroting is the birth-to-come of the Word made flesh, which in the Annunciation is just taking form, somewhere in the recesses of the Marian body. Pliny here announces at the out- set its color, so to speak — the color of that which is past: Where the dream-work smashes the box of representation. The hypothesis might seem banal. But Plato was right to see clear proofs of an origin in Ideas. He screams and falls dead amid his books.
Confronting Images : Georges Didi-Huberman :
The movement that reveals itself in this history is that of a dialectic whereby things are negated or inverted only so as to be subsequently reissued into the bosom of a single synthesis, or rather into the bosom of a single abstract process of synthesis, regardless of manifest or ex- 88 Confronting Images plicit content.
It seems to be conjugated in the very special tense of a future in the throes imqges birth and self- remembrance, foreclosing the shadow of miages past and of oblivion, announcing the dawn of all lucidity. And it is, then, paradoxical as much as sovereign: It is not a question here of constituting the critical fortune of the first great art historian: Imita- tion in the Renaissance is a credo, but it is not for all that a unifying principle.
Description When the French edition of Confronting Images appeared init won immediate acclaim because of its far-reaching arguments about the structure of images and the histories ascribed to them by scholars and critics working in the tradition of Vasari and Panofsky.
Space has been reduced to a pure place of memory. It turns its back to the specifics of painting and fresco.
Exactitude can be a means to truth — it should not become an end in itself, much less an exclusive form. In this respect, it indeed belongs to the world of the representation.