When the French edition of Confronting Images appeared in , it won To escape from this cul-de-sac, Didi-Huberman suggests that art historians look to. GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAI. CONFRONTING IMAGES. QUESTIONING THE ENDS OF A CERTAIN HISTORY OF ART. Translated from the French by John. among the Ga of Ghana, focusing particularly on the funerary object-image 5 For Didi-Huberman, , Confronting Images Questioning the Ends of a Certain .

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Confronting Images: Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art By Georges Didi-Huberman

Vasari killed the Middle Ages the better to immortal- ize the Renaissance; he also sanctioned the split between the major arts and the minor arts — in other words, he invented or reinvented the distinction between art and craft — to save the aristocracy of the three congronting Confronting Images arti del disegno. Fourth approximation to renounce the humanism of the history of art: The second philosophical trap is of a positivist order.

At this moment, the per- ceived fresco becomes really, fully visible didk it becomes clear and dis- tinct as if it were making itself explicit.

Perhaps art historians think they are keeping their object for themselves and safeguarding it when they enclose it within what they call a specificity.

Hence the perpetual obfuscation of concrete observations by the global idea that guides the unwinding plot lines. Where art legitimates itself as unified object, noble practice, and intellectual knowledge. To open the image, to open logic Where the dream-work smashes the box of representation. Already, these few moments of posing our gaze to the whiteness of an image have taken us rather far from the kind of determinism to which the history of art has accustomed us.

Cofnronting does this so as to proceed without them—which is also to say without Fra Angelico—into the dubious realm of a metaphysics, an idea, a belief without subject.

Disappointment with what is legible: Now we under- stand better how it was that Christians first laid claim not to the visibility of the visible — to what remained mere appearance, the ven- ustas of figures of Venus: It requires, then, a gaze that would not draw close only to discern and recognize, to name what cojfronting grasps at any cost—but would, first, distance itself a bit and abstain from clarifying everything immediately.


The history of art fails to comprehend the vast constellation of objects created by man in view of a visual efficacy when it tries to 30 Confronting Images integrate them into the conventional schema of mastery of the visible. So Fate does not restore uuberman world to us along with the works of antique art, it gives not the spring and summer of the ethical life in which they blossomed and ripened, but only the veiled recollection of that actual world.

It is not a question here of constituting the critical fortune of the first great art historian: He could also very well have dispensed with such an intense use of white, criticized in his day as producing a tension that was esthetically disagreeable.

The history of art in the subjective sense is too often ignored by the objective discipline, even though it preceded and conditions it.

Confronting Images : Georges Didi-Huberman :

There is every reason to believe that a hubefman iconographer entering this tiny cell would need only a couple of seconds, once the fresco was visible, to read into it: First by changing perspective: His books hbuerman Fra Angelico: Their functioning is multidirectional, their efficacy polymorphous. As with all the cited translations, however, I have felt free to modify them where necessary. But advance toward what? The work will also disappoint art historians well acquainted with the characteristic profusion of Quattrocento Annunciations: This frontal white is nothing but a surface of contemplation, a dream screen — but one on which all dreams will be possible.

Beyond the detail principle His books include Fra Angelico: Florence, Monastery of San Marco, cell 3. For it is through them that the Vasarian and academic discipline managed to constitute itself by giving itself the authority of principles and ends, therefore of values and norms. The economy of death in Christianity: Contradictory, because in the one case drawing is defined as the universalizing derivation of judgment based on natural and sensi- ble things cava di molte cose un giudizio universalewhile in the other it is confrronting as the individuating expression of this same judgment: Such, in effect, is the consequence, for the very notion of history, of the discourse of speci- ficity.


Confronting Images : Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art

To answer this question, guberman must listen attentively to the tone adopted by the history of art — the one that still shapes us — toward its object. On the Architectonics of Cultural Boundaries The men of the Middle Ages did not think otherwise what constituted for them the fundament of their religion: The frame of the Lives should be read — and seen — as hubrrman complex, layered system of legitimation procedures.

First by changing perspective: Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, c. Metaphysical trap and positivist trap Where history and art come to impede the history of art First platitude: To what ends did Vasari invent the history of art?

We should not be surprised to discover in Kant an unequivocal critique of mannerism, construed precisely as an abusive but sophisticated use of the Idea. And thus to invent outright a real- ity — in fact: The second characteristic of a dybbuk is adhesion, in accordance iimages a like defiance of imagess topological laws of inside and outside, of near and far: To an equal extent, however, the Rinascitd engages the future, which is to say the idea of a teleology.