Artibus et Historiae no. 3 (II)

1981, ISSN 0391-9064

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WIESŁAW GODZIC - Iconographic-Iconological Method in Film Research

The writer presents the essence of the iconographic-iconological method (in Erwin Panofsky's interpretation) and draws our attention to the unclear methodological status of iconography (there are some who consider it "a general science about visual message", according to others it is a method, a technique).

In the second part the writer relates and draws conclusions from previous iconographic analyses (by Christian Metz, Roland Barthes, Erwin Panofsky, Linda Williams). The conclusion is the conviction that iconographic studies in the field of film are possible only in the case of:

a) strongly codified works, supplied with artificially created and commonly accepted symbolism,

b) specific series of kinds and genres (Wild West films, fables, morality films, "films of the cape and sword"),

c) the works of distinct cultural circles, requiring special heuristics.

In other cases the efficacy of iconography as a method "wains", the distinguishing of level becomes an incoherent confusion of several different analytic techniques.

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