Artibus et Historiae no. 34 (XVII)

1996, ISSN 0391-9064

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SEYMOUR HOWARD - On Iconology, Intention, Imagos, and Myths of Meaning

By embracing all information of ambience or context, external and internal, associable with making and perception - from history, religion, literature, technology, psychology, an so on, as well as archaeology and art history - the fine art of Iconology (as opposed to the craft of Iconography) functions as the most comprehensive method for understanding works of art, as has been noted by its advocates, such as Jan Białostocki.

Here, using selected examples ancient and modern - Lacoon, Pasquino, Mona Lisa, work by Duchamp, Dali, and Pollock, and others - the author discusses the history and use of iconology, giv­ing particular attention to divining intention in maker and viewer, to a sense of self as reflected and perceived in works viewable as imagos or "Psychomorphs", and to myths of meaning, which as metaphors facilitate thought and communication.

The roles of three professionals who deal with recording, judging, and interpreting - the Chronicler, the Critic, and the Historian are briefly discussed, along with the limitations of faddish methodologies that neglect the special means of nonverbal imagery.

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