Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeuxis, Myth, And Mimesis
U of Minnesota Press, 2007 - 232 páginas
Few tales of artistic triumph can rival the story of Zeuxis. As first reported by Cicero and Pliny, the painter Zeuxis set out to portray Helen of Troy, but when he realized that a single model could not match Helen’s beauty, he combined the best features of five different models. A primer on mimesis in art making, the Zeuxis myth also illustrates ambivalence about the ability to rely on nature as a model for ideal form. In Too Beautiful to Picture, Elizabeth C. Mansfield engages the visual arts, literature, and performance to examine the desire to make the ideal visible. She finds in the Zeuxis myth evidence of a cultural primal scene that manifests itself in gendered terms. Mansfield considers the many depictions of the legend during the Renaissance and questions its absence during the eighteenth century. Offering interpretations of Angelica Kauffman’s paintings, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Mansfield also considers Orlan’s carnal art as a profound retelling of the myth. Throughout, Mansfield asserts that the Zeuxis legend encodes an unconscious record of the West’s reliance on mimetic representation as a vehicle for metaphysical solace. Elizabeth C. Mansfield is associate professor of art history at the University of the South.
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PART II PAINTING LIKE ZEUXIS
Zeuxis Selecting Models and the Cultural Unconscious
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Academy According aesthetic ancient Angelica Kauffman antique anxiety Apelles appears artistic assertion association authors beauty body Cambridge canvas castration century chapter cites classical mimesis collection copy course creative cultural Demoiselles depiction describes discussed drawing early example experience explains female feminine fetish Figure final finds five Frankenstein Freud function give Greek Helen human ideal ideas illustrates imitation invention Italy Kauffman later legend Lives London male Mary means metaphor mimesis Museum narrative nature observes offers once original Orlan painter painting Paris perfect Photograph courtesy Pliny political pose practice present produced refers remains representation reveals role Roman scene self-portrait serves sexual Shelley significance social sources standing status story suggests takes temple theme theory tion trans uncanny University Press viewer visual Western woman women writing York Zeuxian Zeuxis myth Zeuxis Selecting Models Zeuxis’s
Página 50 - Yet nature is made better by no mean, But nature makes that mean : so, o'er that art Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry A gentler scion to the wildest stock ; And make conceive a bark of baser kind By bud of nobler race. This is an art Which does mend nature, change it rather : but The art itself is nature.
Página 38 - See, what a grace was seated on this brow; Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; A station like the herald Mercury, New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man : This was your husband.
Página 177 - Her lips suck forth my soul : see, where it flies! Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helena.
Página 179 - Doch im Erstarren such' ich nicht mein Heil, Das Schaudern ist der Menschheit bestes Teil; Wie auch die Welt ihm das Gefühl verteure, Ergriffen, fühlt er tief das Ungeheure.
Página 95 - His limbs were in proportion and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!— Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
Página 92 - I busied myself to think of a story — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror...
Página 25 - This is that an uncanny effect is often and easily produced when the distinction between imagination and reality is effaced, as when something that we have hitherto regarded as imaginary appears before us in reality...
Página 31 - double' was originally an insurance against destruction to the ego, an 'energetic denial of the power of death', as Rank says; and probably the 'immortal' soul was the first 'double' of the body. This invention of doubling as a preservation against extinction has its counterpart in the language of dreams, which is fond of representing castration by a doubling or multiplication of...
Página 50 - You see, sweet maid, we marry A gentler scion to the wildest stock, And make conceive a bark of baser kind By bud of nobler race : this is an art ~\\ hich does mend nature, — change it rather ; but The art itself is nature.
Página 22 - I could not long remain in doubt. Nothing but painted women were to be seen at the windows of the small houses, and I hastened to leave the narrow street at the next turning.