By Norman Bryson
Traditionally and culturally, the societies that produced still-life portray might rarely be extra various. what's it then, that permits us to put such types of photographs inside of a unmarried class? Norman Bryson writes approximately this topic with ability and eloquence in "Looking on the Overlooked."
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Extra resources for Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still Life Painting
In the fragment from Herculaneum the wall opens first onto an imaginary theatre, complete with proscenium and curtain, and then onto a colossal skenographic architecture of soaring columns and broken pediments ; these are not presented frontally but from along a slightly oblique axis, with the implication that the baroque splendours of temple-front and portico extend back far beyond the buildings which are directly glimpsed (ill us. 29 There is an almost exclusive concentration on the frame as the basic unit of space; essentially the chamber wall is treated as only the first in a series of frames leading to further frames - arches, windows, colonnades - one behind the next, to infinity.
19 Juan Sanchez Cotan, Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables. Hernani Collection, Madrid. reality, directly apprehended, and at the same time reveals to a rustic version of life the possibility of overcoming necessity through cultural organisation, refinement, and symbolic play. The fuller development of still life depends on the disappearance of this classical balance and moderation. It is in the monastic culture of seventeenth-century Spain that rhopography's potential for overturning the scale of human importance is first revealed.
But it is a text that gives remarkable expression, albeit in satirical form, to a certain ideology of culture, as that ideology existed in one specific place and time. It deals with the way in which the ruling culture understood itself as culture, and defined what it took to be the essential moments and processes in cultural production. That definition possesses a highly specific historical form: cultural work is defined as mediation and artifice, representation and simulation. Power is thought of as the capacity to control reality by shifting it from level to level, from a primally given real, across a series of distinct thresholds within representation, into pure simulation.