Training the Eye The Advent of the Beholder into Sandro Botticelli’s »Adorazioni«
PDF, 20 pages
Like only few other pictorial themes in Western art, the Adoration of the Magi, rather than presenting a mere depiction of the event, manufactures an image of the experience of seeing itself. The great number of Adorazioni painted by Sandro Botticelli bespeak the process in which this type of seeing – through installing the gaze in 15th century painting – is transferred from a re-enactment of the experience of presence to a purely aesthetic relation between viewer and object.
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).