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Visuality and unmediation in Burne-Jones's Laus Veneris

Corbett, D.P. (2001) Visuality and unmediation in Burne-Jones's Laus Veneris. Art History, 24 (1). pp. 83-102. ISSN 0141-6790

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This article argues that a contest between the image and verbal knowledge is central to the work of Burne-Jones and that this contest thematizes cultural tensions around the capacity of the visual arts to deal adequately with the new conditions of contemporary experience. Contrary to most established readings, I argue that Burne-Jones's painting possessed for contemporaries the possibility of critical potential in its resistance to the instrumental values of late nineteenth-century modernity and that this potential was expressed most powerfully through their visual character. But if Burne-Jones's dream was critical in this way, it was also insecure. Opposing the visual to the word as forms of effective knowledge about reality, Burne-Jones's paintings of the 1870s nonetheless turn out to be dependent on the word and to enact a dialectic between word and image as a central part of their constitution.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2009 14:49
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2009 14:49
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.00250
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-8365.00250
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5659

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