Close looking and conviction
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This article offers theoretical and practical reflections on the operations involved in description and interpretation based on ‘close looking’. Explanations are given of the necessary appeal to contexts of origin or reception in order to disambiguate works of art, the widespread though rarely acknowledged reliance on an attenuated form of intention, and the way in practice that contexts are mobilised in the description or ‘redescription’ of works of art. Wider points made concern scepticism about the idea that works of art might determine their own interpretation (including problems with claims made as part of the phenomenological turn in image studies for the priority of direct or unmediated response to works of art), the quasi-allegorical nature of even ostensibly object-centred interpretation, and consequences of the fact that modernism can function as a kind of context.
Rose , S 2017 , ' Close looking and conviction ' , Art History , vol. 40 , no. 1 , 156 , pp. 156-177 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12259
© Association of Art Historians 2016. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12259
DescriptionResearch for this essay was supported by: the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the Courtauld Institute of Art; and Peterhouse, Cambridge.
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