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Alberto Saviello: See and Be Amazed!
See and Be Amazed!
(p. 231 – 248)

Inner-pictorial viewers in Persian book painting

Alberto Saviello

See and Be Amazed!
Spectator Figures in Persian Manuscript Painting

PDF, 18 pages

The figure of the inner-pictorial viewer is present in so-called Persian book painting already from the Ilkhanid period of the 13th Century onwards. The article investigates the changing forms and functions of such figures up to the 16th Century in regard to the text-image-relations essential to the medium. It will be argued that the beholders within the images implicitly address the act of seeing (and its different ways of conveying emotions and cognition) and thus become figures of reflection for the extra-pictorial viewer and his/her own gaze at the painting. This constellation initiates a visual discourse on the faculties of painting that finds its counterpart in art theoretical texts of the time.

  • antiquity
  • Byzantium
  • Islamic art
  • iconography
  • painting
  • Middle ages
  • public sphere
  • art history
  • gaze
  • eye
  • observer

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Alberto Saviello

finished his PhD in art history in 2011. From 2009 to 2011 he was Assistant Professor at the departments of art history of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and the Freie Universität Berlin. Since 2011 he has been working as postdoctoral research fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin in the project »Transcultural Negotiations in the Ambits of Art«.

Beate Fricke (ed.), Urte Krass (ed.): The Public in the Picture / Das Publikum im Bild

The invention of depicting figures participating in an event — nameless bystanders, beholders, and onlookers — marks an important change in the ways artists addressed the beholder of the artworks themselves. This shift speaks to a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their audience. The public in the picture acts as mediator between times, persons, and contents. The contributions of this volume describe this moment from a diachronic and transcultural perspective, while each of them focuses on a specific group of works revealing a new moment in this history. They explore the cultural contexts of the political and religious public, and relate the rise of the public in the picture to the rise of perspectival representation (Panofsky’s space-box and Kemp’s Chronotopos).

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