In his introduction to "The Moses of Michelangelo," Freudstated, "Works of art do exercise a powerful effect on me,especially those of literature and sculpture, less often ofpainting" (1914, 211). Sculpture, with all its ambivalence as asurrogate for the human body, and its uncanny potential for "comingto life," is at the heart of Sigmund Freud's writings about visualart. This is exemplified in his essay on Michelangelo's as well as his interpretative study of Jensen's. For Freud, who dealt on a daily basis with thesoft, spectral material of memories and dreams, sculpture seemed tobelong to a superior order of historical monumentality. MalcolmBowie, for instance, has stated that sculpture was for Freud "afixed physical structure which, in its fixity, explains" (1987,22-23). Sculpture may well possess the advantage of fixity anddurability, as another of Freud's favorite protagonists, Leonardoda Vinci, stated in his sixteenth-century (1956, 42). But in Freud's visual imagination,sculpture was far from inanimate.
deeply biographical essay on Michelangelo, John Addington
Course Description: We will examine the double and interrelated paradoxes of Secular Christianity and Secular Judaism by first reading accounts of secularization, the body, and violence and then focusing on the emergence of genre painting from Christian religious painting (in the fifteenth to late seventeenth centuries) and religious iconoclasm in the Reformation (sometimes represented and framed as paintings within paintings). We will examine a concern many modern art historians share about the direction of reading (from left to right) images (as if they were Christian, not Hebrew texts) and the reverse sides of paintings related to anamorphic Renaissance paintings and manuscript marginalia. We will also look at medieval and Renaissance diptychs in which the outside of one or both sides is also painted and a recent museum exhibition using X-raydiography to determine the provenance of paintings that have been joined together as diptychs. In addition to discussing cases of religious iconoclasm and sacrilege, we will examine an interest with revival and restoration of damaged art and its veneration present in the Renaissance and the reemergence of art restorationdbates in the middle of the nineteenth century and again in the 1980s to the present. We will compare Christian and Jewish medieval manuscripts and also examine the relation between tablets and tables, looking at Freud's essay on Michelangelo's "Moses" and then at tables in Christian paintings which show the date and signature of the painter, sometimes next to a self-portrait, and similar tables shown on title pages of books. Additionally, we will examine a TV documentary about the possible discovery of Leonardo da Vinci's lost painting "The Battle of Anghiari" and also look at Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" in relation to its digital reproduction on a website, a film about the "Last Supper" by Peter Greenaway and projected over the painting and Greenaway's book devoted to the painting's digital reproduction, The Da Vinci Code film directed by Ron Howard, and Greenaway’s conspiracy film Nightwatching, about the making of Rembrandt’s painting of the same title. The premise of the course is twofold: first, that the Christian sacred returns in and as the secular work of art and even as its frame; and, second, that the Christian text and image represses on its reverse side the hidden Jewish corpus, both as text (read from right to left) and as body. We will end the course by reviewing at relatively recent controversies over the sacred during the late 1980s and into the 1990s on NEA funded art and an exhibition showing the role signatures and the back sides of paintings played in the restitution of these paintings decades after the Nazis stole them from their Jewish owners.
This is an essay on Michelangelo's sculptures
He sets the scene with a general essay on Michelangelo, bringing us up to the period when, aged 33 in 1508, the artist unwillingly undertook the commission from the bullying "warrior pope" Julius II to paint the enormous ceiling of his private chapel.
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