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n Journal of Literary Studies - Foucault's Las Meninas and art-historical methods

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Abstract

Die fokus van hierdie artikel val op die maniere waarop Foucault se Las Meninas in kunsgeskiedkundige tekste voorgestel en beoordeel is en poog om die belangrikheid daarvan vir kunsgeskiedenis oor die algemeen en die "Nuwe Kunsgeskeidenis" van die 1970's en 1980's in die besonder te bepaal. Kunsgeskiedkundiges het nog nie die historiese, filosofiese, teoretiese en metodologiese dimensie van Foucault se verwoording van 'n argeologie van die denkstrukture en die belangrikheid van hierdie ondersoek genoegsaam by die skryf van kunsgeskiedenisse betrek nie. Nietemin het Foucault se ongeëwenaarde lesing van Velàzquez se skildery - losgemaak van kunsgeskiedkundige metodes - die weg gebaan vir 'n beoordeling van die beperkinge van kanonieke kunsgeskiedkundige verklarende prosedures. Die kunsgeskiedkundiges Svetlana Alpers, Norman Bryson en Eric Fernie het byvoorbeeld die aandag gevestig op die bekrompenheid van die dissipline; die klem wat dit plaas op die kunskenner; 'n beheptheid met die konstruksie van betekenis aan die hand van argiefstukke en ikonografiese en stilistiese ontleding. Teen diè agtergrond het Foucault baanbrekerswerk verrig met sy toeligting van Las Meninas se selfrefleksiewe besinning oor die aard van voorstelling.

This article focuses on the ways in which Foucault's Las Meninas has been represented and critiqued in art-historical texts and endeavours to gauge its significance to the discipline, in particular, the "New Art History" of the 1970s and 1980s. Art historians have not yet adequately engaged the historical, philosophical, theoretical and methodological dimension of Foucault's articulation of an archaeology of the structures of thought and the significance of this inquiry to the writing of art histories. However, Foucault's unprecedented reading of Velàzquez's painting - unfettered by art-historical methods - played a significant role in facilitating a critique of the limitations of canonical art-historical interpretive procedures. Art historians Svetlana Alpers, Norman Bryson and Eric Fernie have, for example, drawn attention to the insularity of the discipline; its emphasis on connoisseurship; its preoccupation with the construction of meaning via archival documents and iconographic and stylistic analysis. Against this framework Foucault's elucidation of Las Meninas's self-reflexive meditation on the nature of representation was groundbreaking.

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/content/litstud/22/3_4/EJC62416
2006-12-01
2016-12-04
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