History of Art Research Seminar Series
There is a division at the centre of gesture. In the first instance gesture can be incorporated within the history of literal gesture. It can be located within the history of rhetoric and linked to the history of physiognomy. With such a setting important points of connection can be traced from Cicero and Quintilian via Giambattista della Porta and Andrea de Jorio to Aby Warburg. At the same time there is another thinking of gesture. It draws on the work of Walter Benjamin. Here gesture breaks with its reduction to the literal. It becomes what Benjamin describes as a mode of ‘interruption’ (Unterbrechung). However, it is an interruption that occasions. Benjamin describes it as ‘form creating’. The aim of this lecture is to trace the points of intersection and separation between these two conceptions of gestures within the context created by two paintings: Luca Signorelli Comunione degli Apostoli and Frans van Mieris The Letter Writer.
Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Monash University, Melbourne and Distinguished Anniversary Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities at Kingston University in London. His recent books include:
- Virtue in Being. 2016 SUNY. Press.
- Arts Philosophical Work. Rowman and Littlefield. 2015.
- Towards A Relational Ontology. Philosophy’s Other Possibility. SUNY. Press. 2015.
- Working with Walter Benjamin. Recovering a Political Philosophy. EUP. 2013.