Figure and Likeness
On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Iconoclasm
By (author) Charles Barber
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Figure and Likeness by Charles Barber
Book Description"Figure and Likeness" presents a thought-provoking new account of Byzantine iconoclasm - the fundamental crisis in Christian visual representation during the eighth and ninth centuries that defined the terms of Christianity's relationship to the painted image. Charles Barber rejects the conventional means of analyzing this crisis, which seeks its origin in political and other social factors. Instead, he argues, iconoclasm is primarily a matter of theology and aesthetic theory. Working between the theological texts and the visual materials, Barber demonstrates that in challenging the validity of iconic representation, iconoclasts were asking: how can an image depict an incomprehensible God? In response, iconophile theologians gradually developed a notion of representation that distinguished the work of art from the subject it depicted. As such, Barber concludes, they were forced to move the language describing the icon beyond that of theology. This pivotal step allowed these theologians, of whom Patriarch Nikephoros and Theodore of Stoudios were the most important, to define and defend a specifically Christian art. In highlighting this outcome and also in offering a full and clearly rendered account of iconoclastic notions of Christian representation, Barber reveals that the notion of art was indeed central to the unfolding of iconoclasm. The implications of this study reach well beyond the dispute it considers. Barber fundamentally revises not only our understanding of Byzantine art in the years succeeding the iconoclastic dispute, but also of Christian painting in the centuries to come.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691091778
(254mm x 190mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 23-Sep-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Charles Barber
Byzantine Things in the World, Paperback (June 2013)
How did Byzantine culture understand its own objects we now call "art"? This book proposes that they saw and experienced clay pilgrim tokens, relief stamps, and icons of saints as dynamic and fully capable of affecting the world.
English Language, Paperback (March 2012)» View all books by Charles Barber
This bestselling text by Charles Barber recounts the history of the English language from its ancestry to the present day.
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Author Biography - Charles Barber
Charles Barber is Associate Professor of Art, Art History, and Design at the University of Notre Dame. He has published "The Theodore Psalter (British Library Add. 19352): A CD-ROM Facsimile".
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