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Distributed for Leiden University Press

The Secret Lives of Art Works

Exploring the Boundaries between Art and Life

Over the centuries, viewers have attributed life and agency to many works of art: they claim that portraits stare back or that statues move, breathe, and speak. The first volume to examine this phenomenon in detail, The Secret Lives of Art Works presents case studies from the visual arts, architecture, and beyond and engages critically with theoretical perspectives from art history, psychology, anthropology, and aesthetics. Combining historical research with an exploration of current approaches to the topic, The Secret Lives of Art Works offers a unified account of a fascinating experience in which art seemingly comes alive and engages its beholders.

411 pages | 100 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Art: Art Criticism

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“This book offers a very interesting collection of essays on a very interesting topic. The collection as a whole is coherent, the individual essays are all convincing, the general approach and even tone and style of writing is quite harmonious. Remarkably so for a book that grows out of a conference.”

Bart Verschaffel, Ghent University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Exploring the Boundaries Between Art and Life
Part One: Portrayal. In What Sense Can Images Be Said to Be Alive?
1. The Living Presence of the Gods in Ancient Greece
Robin Osborne
2. Da’ più scorretti abusata: The Venus de’ Medici and its History of Sexual Responses
Stijn Bussels
3. Perpetual Presences: Some Remarks on the Agency of Buildings and Images in Renaissance Italy
Lex Hermans
4. Double-Sided Portraits: Literary Models, Modes of Perception between Mind and Body
Lina Bolzoni
5. Not Painting but Flesh: Venetian Thinking on the Lives of Paintings in the Early Modern Doge’s Palace
Elsje van Kessel
6. Monteverdi’s Voice
Iain Fenlon
7. Metallic Presence: Patrons, Portrait Medals and Building Deposits in Renaissance Italy
Minou Schraven
8. Imitation as Animation: The Multiple Lives of a ‘Vesperbildt’ attributed to Quinten Massys
Christine Göttler
Part Two: What Makes Viewers Say that Images Are Animated?
9. Visual Representation as Real Presence: Otto van Veen’s Naples Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas
Ralph Dekoninck
10. Passeri’s Vite: The Swan Song of the Counter Reformation Theory of ‘Living Art’
Arnold Witte
11. The Significance of Fluids: The Lactation of Saint Bernard by Nicolas Mignard (1640)
Frédéric Cousinié
12. Bodies Made Present: Sculptures over Saintly Tombs in Seventeenth-Century Rome
Joris van Gastel
13. Hieronymus Cock’s Effigies: Living Presence in Portrait Prints After the Death of the Original Model
Joanna Woodall
Part Three: What Goes on in Viewers’ Minds?
14. The Public Lives of Artworks: Likeness as a Figure of Speech in Bernini’s Biographies and Emanuele Tesauro’s Cannocchiale aristotelico
Maarten Delbeke
15. Living Stones, Crying Walls: The Dangers of Enlivenment in Architecture from Renaissance putti to Warburg’s Nachleben
Alina Payne
16. Depiction, Make-Believe and Participatory Imagining
Jason Gaiger
Notes on Contributors

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