1887

n South African Journal of Art History - Travelling through time : the aesthetic experience and Rogier van der Weyden’s The Descent from the Cross

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0258-3542

Abstract

Although I more commonly write about contemporary South African art and crafts, I aim in this article to examine and explain the powerful effect that Rogier van der Weyden’s painting, (dated before 1443) The Descent from the Cross, had on me. I will avoid any religious explanation or interpretation, but will instead use a theoretical framework to contextualize powerful contrasts in the work, based on writings by contemporary writers on aspects of the aesthetic experience. Then I will interpret the painting in terms of its characteristics as a painting, as opposed to any other art form, analyzing its visual characteristics, and finally I will apply a psychoanalytic reading based on writings of Freud on Eros and Thanatos and Jung on archetypes. I will consider the position of the viewer vis-à-vis a painting that is almost 600 years old, from another place and time, and the kinds of experiences this engenders. One of these is the sense of being transported through time.


Reisende deur tyd: die estetiese ervaring en Rogier van der Weyden se Die Afdaling vanaf die Kruis
Alhoewel ek gewoonlik oor kontemporêre Suid-Afrikaanse kuns en kunsvlyt skryf, poog ek in hierdie artikel om die dieproerende indruk wat Rogier van der Weyden se Kruisafname (voor 1443 geskilder) op my gemaak het, te ondersoek en te verduidelik. Ek vermy enige godsdiensverduideliking of –interpretasie en gaan eerder ’n teoretiese raamwerk gebruik om die kragtige kontraste in die werk te kontekstualiseer, gebasseer op werke van kontemporêre skrywers en aspekte van estetiese ervaring. Ek vertolk dan die skildery ten opsigte van kenmerke as ’n skildery, in teenstelling met enige ander kunsvorm, deur analisering van visuele kenmerke. Ten slotte pas ek ’n psigoanalitiese vertolking toe, gebasseer op werke van Freud oor Eros en Thanatos en Jung se argitipes. Ek beskou die kyker se standpunt ten opsigte van ’n skildery wat bykans 600 jaar oud is, uit ’n ander plek en tyd, en die verskillende ervarings wat daardeur gegenereer word. Een hiervaan is onder andere die belewenis van wegvoering na ’n ander tyd.

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2018-12-01
2019-10-14

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