The Phenomenon of the Ekphrasis

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  • Title: The Phenomenon of the Ekphrasis: The Problematic Image-Text in Postmodernity and Its Relevance for the History of Art
  • Author(s): Marina Castilla Ortega
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Ekphrasis, History of Art, Art Theory, Art Criticism, Postmodernity, Image Society, Pictorial Turn, Mass-Media, Design, Architectural Ekphrasis
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i04/35-41
  • Citation: Castilla Ortega, Marina. 2019. "The Phenomenon of the Ekphrasis: The Problematic Image-Text in Postmodernity and Its Relevance for the History of Art." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 14 (4): 35-41. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i04/35-41.
  • Extent: 7 pages

Abstract

With this article, we try to define and assess the contribution of the literary figure of the ekphrasis (“written description of visible objects”) to the history of art, in which the description or aesthetic reflection are the fundamental elements for its research. For this reason, I have compiled the studies of experts in the field, including the professor of aesthetics and theory of arts at the University of Valencia (Spain), Román de la Calle. On the other hand, the problematic image-text in postmodernity is addressed through a critical reflection of specific texts on this subject, especially of the awarded Theory of the Image (2009), by one of the most important theoreticians of visual representation of America: William John Thomas. Mitchell, professor of the Department of Philology and English Literature and of the Department of Art of the University of Chicago and editor of the magazine “Critical Inquiry.” Ekphrasis originated in the dawn of humanity, establishing its essence in the classical disciplines of rhetoric, sophistry, and poetics, foundations of the theory and criticism of art. But the phenomenon of ekphrasis will reach its climax and highest complexity in postmodernity, or the “era of the image,” where the so-called “pictorial turn” occurs, at which time the image becomes the guiding axis of life, against the previous textual tradition, based on the text read or written. It is precisely because of the proliferation of images in today’s society that a moment of ekphrastic “crisis” will come through the relationship between text and image, with numerous opposing theories, both in favor of the connection of both media and against its conciliation.