Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I don't think we can know whether or not we're overinterpreting (or "reading into" (eisegesis)) an image unless we first have an idea of what the overall meaning is, and maybe other details like the author and audience of a work, and then internal things like whether similar imagery is used in different contexts in the same work, perhaps suggesting narrative and symbolism.
In the case of the Sola Busca Nabochodonasor, I haven't got much of an idea for the whole trump series except that it seems to be pro-republic, anti-imperial. So even if we didn't know it was Venice, we'd have a clear idea from the choice of subjects that it originated in a strongly republican setting.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:But why isn't Nebuchadnezzar in such dire straits as Nimrod? What is the political message of this series anyway - is there a real political issue being alluded to here?
marco wrote:Actually, the same sphere that floats on Nabochodonasor is held in Alexander's hand:
An example of "similar imagery used in different contexts in the same work"?
In the case of Sola Busca, having too much concern for the details is a more serious errors than for other decks, that have been more studied and are better understood. It seems clear that, in order to find answers to those questions, a study of the deck as a whole is the most appropriate approach. Currently, I don't have any clear idea on this subject. I doubt I could ever be able to understand the references to XV century politics that could be present in the deck
EnriqueEnriquez wrote:if I have never seen a woman carrying a sword and two scales, and I want to know what does that woman represents, I can’t take apart the image and say: what do scales mean? what do swords mean? what do women mean? Free associating about scales, swords or women may be fun, but it is unlikely to get me anywhere. Instead of that I should ask myself: “Is there any other woman holding a sword and two scales in the history of pictorial representation?” “What does a woman holding a sword and two scales mean?”
summary by wikipedia wrote:In his 1939 work Studies in Iconology, (also published in various later redactions) Panofsky details his idea of three levels of art-historical understanding :
Primary or Natural Subject Matter: The most basic level of understanding, this stratum consists of perception of the work’s pure form. Take, for example, a painting of The Last Supper. If we stopped at this first stratum, such a picture could only be perceived as a painting of 13 men seated at a table. This first level is the most basic understanding of a work, devoid of any added cultural knowledge.
Secondary or Conventional subject matter (Iconography): This stratum goes a step further and brings to the equation cultural and iconographic knowledge. For example, a western viewer would understand that the painting of 13 men around a table would represent The Last Supper. Similarly, seeing a representation of a haloed man with a lion could be interpreted as a depiction of St. Jerome.
Intrinsic Meaning or Content (Iconology): This level takes into account personal, technical, and cultural history into the understanding of a work. It looks at art not as an isolated incident, but as the product of a historical environment. Working in this stratum, the art historian can ask questions like “why did the artist choose to represent The Last Supper in this way?” or “Why was St. Jerome such an important saint to the patron of this work?” Essentially, this last stratum is a synthesis; it is the art historian asking "what does it all mean?"
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