Table of Contents
September 2012, Volume 94 Number 3
Iconoclasm was an attack on the real presence of the depicted prototype through assault on the image. Iconophile and iconoclast thinkers in the eighth century, for the first time, considered the image entirely as representation. A transformative moment in the discourse of images, it liberated the image from an emphasis on ontology to place it in an epistemological relation to its referent. The impulse to rethink the meanings of images emerged from debates within pre-Christian culture, between Christians and pagans, and between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, deeply influencing the understanding of images in the later Middle Ages and the Reformation.
The defining image of the Eternal City for more than a century, Francesco Rosselli’s monumental engraving of Rome (ca. 1485/87–90), now lost, was a milestone in urban representation. Rosselli’s view embodied a new approach to depicting the city that emphasized physical resemblance while conveying a strong sense of urban identity. The success of Rosselli’s paradigm, appropriated by generations of later artists, demonstrates the breadth and strength of the print market. The print’s history provides a revealing case study of the establishment, transmission, and transformation of a paradigm, and it raises important questions of authorship and innovation in Renaissance print culture.
Some Chinese artists exploited the spatial and temporal potential of the handscroll format by moving beyond traditional linear readings to experiential readings. Huang Xiangjian, for example, in 1656 composed a pictorial ascent of Mount Jizu in Yunnan Province that lent itself to such a constructed experience. Its reception combined a knowledgeable reading of the artist’s picture and inscription with viewers’ ability to visualize the mountain’s polyvalent topography in full from the summit. This transformative experience culminates in a daguan, or “grand view”: an elevated, panoramic prospect metaphorically implying the comprehensive understanding of certain enlightened individuals.
Adolf Loos, author of the modernist polemic “Ornament and Crime,” was involved in two widely publicized criminal trials during his career. An investigation of his encounters with criminality suggests that his experiences with the press and the courts had implications for both his architectural practice and theory. The publicity surrounding scandals and criminal cases in early twentieth-century Vienna provided opportunities for the debate of matters of general importance at a time when few others existed. It is illuminating to view Loos’s architecture, scandals, and controversies in light of the changing nature of public discourse.