Confronting Images

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


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When the French edition of "Confronting Images" appeared in 1990, it won immediate acclaim because of its far-reaching arguments about the structure of images and the histories ascribed to them by scholars and critics working in the tradition of Vasari and Panofsky. According to Didi-Huberman, visual representation has an 'underside' in which seemingly intelligible forms lose their clarity and defy rational understanding. Art historians, he goes on to contend, have failed to engage this underside, where images harbor limits and contradictions, because their discipline is based upon the assumption that visual representation is made up of legible signs and lends itself to rational scholarly cognition.

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  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 137.16 x 215.9 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • 30 Nov 2009
  • Pennsylvania State University Press
  • University Park
  • English
  • 0271024720
  • 9780271024721
  • 184,882

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Author Information

Georges Didi-Huberman is on the faculty of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art from the College Art Association.

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Review quote

Though Devant l image resembles The Pleasure of the Text in its central dialectic, it actually does what Barthes never did: it makes the essential move toward historicizing the text (or image) that builds representational failure into itself, looking for historical reasons both for a particular image s failure to represent, and for art history s own insensitivity or blindness to this aspect of depiction. Norman Bryson, Art Bulletin"

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