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Beate Fricke: Complicity in Spectatorship
Complicity in Spectatorship
(p. 93 – 112)

Beate Fricke

Complicity in Spectatorship
Bystanders and Beholders in the »Massacre of Innocents« of Giotto and Giovanni Pisano

PDF, 20 pages

The special case of lustful murdering soldiers of King Herod and the introduction of spectators on frescos by Giotto and pulpits by the Pisani are at the core of this contribution, which poses the question: How is cruelty visualized in Italy around 1300? The introduction of detached spectators in opposition to engaged or deeply affected participants in scenes representing the »Murder of the Innocent« leads to the question whether the ostentatious representation of violence contributed to making sense of the limits of culture and building coherence into immediate experience.

  • eye
  • painting
  • Islamic art
  • art history
  • Byzantium
  • antiquity
  • gaze
  • Middle ages
  • iconography
  • public sphere
  • observer

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Beate Fricke

Beate Fricke

teaches European Medieval Art at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the history of images using perspectives from philosophy, cultural anthropology, history of the sciences and theology, with a special emphasis on theories of art and the image.

Other texts by Beate Fricke for DIAPHANES
Beate Fricke (ed.), Urte Krass (ed.): The Public in the Picture / Das Publikum im Bild

The invention of depicting figures participating in an event — nameless bystanders, beholders, and onlookers — marks an important change in the ways artists addressed the beholder of the artworks themselves. This shift speaks to a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their audience. The public in the picture acts as mediator between times, persons, and contents. The contributions of this volume describe this moment from a diachronic and transcultural perspective, while each of them focuses on a specific group of works revealing a new moment in this history. They explore the cultural contexts of the political and religious public, and relate the rise of the public in the picture to the rise of perspectival representation (Panofsky’s space-box and Kemp’s Chronotopos).