Test Cover Image of:  Art, Agency and Living Presence

Art, Agency and Living Presence

From the Animated Image to the Excessive Object

Throughout history, and all over the world, viewers have treated works of art as if they are living beings: speaking to them, falling in love with them, kissing or beating them. Although over the past 20 years the catalogue of individual cases of such behavior towards art has increased immensely, there are few attempts at formulating a theoretical account of them, or writing the history of how such responses were considered, defined or understood. That is what this book sets out to do: to reconstruct some crucial chapters in the history of thought about such reflections in Western Europe, and to offer some building blocks towards a theoretical account of such responses, drawing on the work of Aby Warburg and Alfred Gell.

  • First study to combine a history of Western thought about viewers' treatments of statues as living beings
  • Combines artistic, art historical, psychological, and
    anthropological aspects of the theme

Author Information

Caroline van Eck, Leiden University, Netherlands.

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Audience: Art and cultural scholars