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The New Cultural History$
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Lynn Hunt

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064287

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064287.001.0001

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Seeing Culture in a Room for a Renaissance Prince

Seeing Culture in a Room for a Renaissance Prince

(p.205) Eight Seeing Culture in a Room for a Renaissance Prince
The New Cultural History

Randolph Starn

University of California Press

This chapter demonstrates the effect of literary theory in its analysis of the fifteenth-century frescoes of Andrea Mantegna. It also addresses the domain of “seeing” as opposed to “reading.” A new typology of seeing that includes what is termed the glance, the measured view, and the scan is presented. It then reviews the process of seeing by showing that even forms have historical content. Mantegna's square-and-circle design foists a double order on the viewer, once in its centering geometry, and once again as an archetype of perfect proportion. Documentary research, iconography, and connoisseurship, the prevailing art-historical paradigms, have entered only marginally into the analysis.

Keywords:   literary theory, Andrea Mantegna, frescoes, seeing, glance, scan

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