Studies in Western Art No.3
Special Issue :
Images within Images

March, 2000



Editor's Foreword

Motokazu Kimata

The Self-Referential Image



Andre Chastel
Translated by Motokazu Kimata/Atsushi Miura et al.

The Picture within the Picture

The motif of the "picture within the picture" performed an important function in the history of western painting from the 15th to the 20th century. Inserted as a realistic motif (at times along with a mirror and aperture), into the "objective" pictorial space that was established during the Renaissance, the "tableau dans le tableau" bore complex meanings -- iconographic, stylistic as well as symbolical -- and peaked during the l7th century, particularly in the works of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Velazquez. From the l9th century onward, as painting became more "subjective," this motif entered a new phase in which it served to expose several fundamental problems related to painting, including the issues of reality and fiction, artist and model, the picture within the studio, and so forth.

Motokazu Kimata

Sacred Images and Pagan Idols in the Windows of Chartres Cathedral
Catholic Church and Image around 1200

Through a detailed investigation into the representation of sacred images and of pagan and Old Testament idols in the stained glass of Chartres Cathedral, generally dated shortly after the fire of 1194, the author attempts to shed light on changing attitudes toward images and their specific historical background in the West around 1200. The particularly conventional and invariable character of the depicted idols, stressing the materiality of their fabric, not only presents a striking contrast to the consistent and intentional reticence concerning the presence of Christian images that must have filled cathedrals and churches at that time, but also contributes to defining the Christian faith and the Catholic Church from the outside. Apart from the context of antithesis between pagan cult and Christian faith, one can find, in the Miracles of the Virgin window, an illustration of the apologies for image worship, which had their source in the image theories of Saint Basil the Great and of Saint John of Damascus, and were adapted by the scholastics of the thirteenth century: separation of respect to an image from that to a holy person itself. On the other hand, it is especially revealing that several marginal panels picturing ambiguously the private devotions of donors to the Virgin and Child or to their statue display an attitude treating an image as a real holy person itself.

Lionello Puppi
Translated by Yoshinori Kyotani

"Vinegia[…]fatta in altro modo che l'altra terra". 'The Myth of Venice' as Seen in European Literature and Art from the Fourteenth to the Twentieth Century

Because the city-state of Venice was situated practically in the sea and did not have a city wall, it developed an image as "different" from other lands. From this image was born "the myth of Venice," which related that Venice was built according to divine will. This "myth of Venice" was believed to manifest itself in the very form of the city, which was represented in both the literary and visual arts. From the Middle Ages onward, Venice was represented, among other things, as Jerusalem, imbuing it metaphorically with symbolic meaning. Moreover, this metaphoric representation was experienced as such through religious processions as well. Once the fortunes of Venice declined in the seventeenth century, however, it became difficult to maintain this mythical representation, and its image inevitably underwent a transformation. The image of Venice changed from its previous metaphoric representations towards one which consisted of a composite of fragmentary, real-life characteristics.

Akira Akiyama

From deus artifex to divino artista
On the Self-Formation of the Artist in the Renaissance

In Dosso's Jupiter, Mercury and the Virtue the creator-god is depicted as a painter. The source of this topos, comparing the creator-god with an artist, is found both in biblical literature and in Greek philosophy. This article traces the development of this topos from antiquity to the Renaissance while also exploring the formation of another topos, which compares artists with the creator. The adjective divinus/divino was widely used in the 15th century in Italy, and in the middle of the 16th century famous artists like Michelangelo and Titian were even called divino artista or divine artist. In Northern Europe the term "divine hand" instead of divino artista was applied to artists such as D<CODE NUM=00FC>rer and Holbein. From this point of view this article tries to reinterpret D<CODE NUM=00FC>rer's Self-portrait of 1500, using the concept of "self-fashioning".

Michiaki Koshikawa

A Reconsideration of the Elder Pliny's Artists' Legends Depicted
in the Casa Vasari in Florence

The frescoes in the Sala delle Arti in the Florentine home of Giorgio Vasari have been the subject of several interpretative studies. These studies have analysed the three scenes from the Plinian legends on antique artists in relation to Vasari's art-theoretical concepts such as disegno, imitazione, and giudizio. This paper attempts to point out a kind of 'sub-plot' in Vasari's fresco cycle, that is, a demonstration and exaltation of painting's universal ability to imitate nature in the paragone context. This idea was eloquently expressed in Vincenzo Borghini's discussion on "Painting, Poetry, and Music" included in his manuscript titled Selva di Notizie(1564), and Borghini's arguments for the superiority of painting over sculpture find exact counterparts in Vasari's pictorial representations.

Tomoo Matsubara

The 'Picture Tabernacle' in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Siena

The 'picture tabernacle'(Bildtabernakel), which consists of a modern altarpiece in the center of which a medieval icon is inserted, was produced in Italy, especially during the Counter Reformation. This article attempts to compose a brief list of the examples of this genre produced in Siena and to situate them in their historical context. The first two works in Siena, both by Sodoma, were used by two Confraternities of the Rosary, so it is probable that, in order to promote the new devotion for the rosary, the Dominicans of Siena inserted ancient images from the existing cult into the 'picture tabernacles'. However, the newly formed cult for the 'Madonna of Provenzano' also played an important role in its development. The first half of seventeenth century was the most productive period for this genre. The decoration of the Chapel of the 'Madonna of the Vow' with the sculptures and reliefs probably designed by Bernini (1658-64), however, brought about a change in the taste of patrons and caused its decline.

Gregor J. M. Weber
Translated by Yoriko Kobayashi

Vermeer's Use of the Picture-within-a-Picture: A New Approach

Pictures-within-pictures, which are often found in many interiors painted by Dutch artists including Johannes Vermeer, often have some additional meanings to the main scenes. Until recently no method of how to interpret them has been presented except by E. de Jongh, who cites emblems as helpful for this purpose. The author here proposes a new method of intepretation based on a rhetorical tradition, especially the theory of exampla. In many cases, it could explain one relation or another between the main scenes and the pictures-within-pictures. However, Vermeer, being more restrained than his contemporaries in treating figures, seems to have preferred that the relation remain an open one.

Hiroya Murakami

The 'Picture-within-a-Picture' in Surrealist Painting, Especially in the Work of Max Ernst

Under the influence of Giorgio De Chirico's Metaphysical Painting, some Dada and Surrealist painters employed the 'picture-within-a-picture' as a device for intentionally confusing or inverting the relationship between reality and fiction. On the other hand, Max Ernst's frequent use of the 'picture-within-a-picture' in his works from the late 1920s to the early 1930s reflects his desire to capture, collect and exhibit his inner visions. Vox Angelica in 1943 is a kind of 'gallery picture' the artist composed from his own works. The compartments in this painting can be counted as 52, corresponding to his age at that time and to the number of playing cards, thereby presenting his art and life as a magical system. However, they can also be counted as 51, alluding to a prophecy about him as uttered by Robert Desnos during the pre-Surrealist period. Allusions to geometry, astronomy and music in this work evoke an image of the artist as a pre-modern magician-scientist who perceives the law of harmony in his own universe.




Book Review

Mie Kuroiwa

Michael Camille, The Gothic Idol : Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art

Atsushi Miura

Pierre Georgel, Anne-Marie Lecoq, La Peinture dans la Peinture

Toshiharu Nakamura

Victor I. Stoichita, The Self-Aware Image: An Insight into Early Modern Meta-Painting Bibliography

Exhibition Review

Yasuhide Shinbata

Poussin and Raphael(Aichi 1999)

Masashi Urakami

Pietro da Cortona 1597-1669(Rome 1998)

Noriko Murayama

Daumier, 1808-1879(Paris 1999-2000)