Oppløsningen av det estetiske: Kunstteori og estetisk praksis

The material history of wax is a history of disappearance--wax melts, liquefies, evaporates, and undergoes innumerable mutations. Wax is tactile, ambiguous, and mesmerizing, confounding viewers and scholars alike. It can approximate flesh with astonishing realism and has been used to create uncanny human simulacra since ancient times--from phallic amulets offered to heal distressing conditions and life-size votive images crammed inside candlelit churches by the faithful, to exquisitely detailed anatomical specimens used for training doctors and Medardo Rosso's "melting" portraits. The critical history of wax, however, is fraught with gaps and controversies. After Giorgio Vasari, the subject of wax sculpture was abandoned by art historians; in the twentieth century it once again sparked intellectual interest, only soon to vanish. The authors of the eight essays in Ephemeral Bodies--including the first English translation of Julius von Schlosser's seminal "History of Portraiture in Wax" (1910-11)--break new ground as they explore wax reproductions of the body or body parts and assess their conceptual ambiguity, material impermanence, and implications for the history of Western art.


Introduction: The Body in Wax, the Body of Wax by Roberta Panzanelli   1     Compelling Presence: Wax Effigies in Renaissance Florence by Roberta Panzanelli   13     Wax Fibers, Wax Bodies, And Moving Figures: Artifice and Nature in Eighteenth-Century Anatomy by Joan B. Landes   41     Almost Alive: The Spectacle of Verisimilitude in Madame Tussaud's Waxworks by Uta Kornmeier   67     On Waxes And Wombs: Eighteenth-Century Representations of the Gravid Uterus by Lyle Massey   83     Wax Tokens Of Libido: William Hamilton, Richard Payne Knight, and the Phalli of Isernia by Whitney Davis   107     Fleeting Revelations: The Demise of Duration in Medardo Rosso's Wax Sculpture by Sharon Hecker   131     Viscosities And Survivals: Art History Put to the Test by the Material by Georges Didi-Huberman   154 Appendix   History Of Portraiture In Wax: ("Geschichte der Portratbildnerei in Wachs," 1910-11) by Julius von Schlosser   171     Biographical Notes on the Contributors Index