Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form

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A descriptive work of prose or poetry , a film , or even a photograph may thus highlight through its rhetorical vividness what is happening, or what is shown in, say, any of the visual arts , and in doing so, may enhance the original art and so take on a life of its own through its brilliant description. One example is a painting of a sculpture: the painting is "telling the story of" the sculpture, and so becoming a storyteller, as well as a story work of art itself. Virtually any type of artistic medium may be the actor of, or subject of ekphrasis. One may not always be able, for example, to make an accurate sculpture of a book to retell the story in an authentic way; yet if it's the spirit of the book that we are more concerned about, it certainly can be conveyed by virtually any medium and thereby enhance the artistic impact of the original book through synergy.

In this way, a painting may represent a sculpture, and vice versa; a poem portray a picture; a sculpture depict a heroine of a novel; in fact, given the right circumstances, any art may describe any other art, especially if a rhetorical element , standing for the sentiments of the artist when they created their work, is present.

For instance, the distorted faces in a crowd in a painting depicting an original work of art, a sullen countenance on the face of a sculpture representing a historical figure, or a film showing particularly dark aspects of neo-Gothic architecture, are all examples of ekphrasis. In the Republic , Book X, Plato discusses forms by using real things, such as a bed , for example, and calls each way a bed has been made, a "bedness". He commences with the original form of a bed, one of a variety of ways a bed may have been constructed by a craftsman and compares that form with an ideal form of a bed, of a perfect archetype or image in the form of which beds ought to be made, in short, the epitome of bedness.

In his analogy, one bedness form shares its own bedness — with all its shortcomings — with that of the ideal form, or template. A third bedness, too, may share the ideal form. He continues with the fourth form also containing elements of the ideal template or archetype which in this way remains an ever-present and invisible ideal version with which the craftsman compares his work.


As bedness after bedness shares the ideal form and template of all creation of beds, and each bedness is associated with another ad infinitum, it is called an "infinite regress of forms". It was this epitome, this template of the ideal form, that a craftsman or later an artist would try to reconstruct in his attempt to achieve perfection in his work, that was to manifest itself in ekphrasis at a later stage.

Artists began to use their own literary and artistic genre of art to work and reflect on another art to illuminate what the eye might not see in the original, to elevate it and possibly even surpass it. For Plato and Aristotle , it is not so much the form of each bed that defines bedness : [3] as the mimetic stages at which beds may be viewed that defines bedness.

In another instance, Socrates talks about ekphrasis to Phaedrus thus: "You know, Phaedrus, that is the strange thing about writing, which makes it truly correspond to painting.

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The painter's products stand before us as though they were alive, but if you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence. It is the same with written words; they seem to talk to you as if they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever".

The fullest example of ekphrasis in antiquity can be found in Philostratus of Lemnos ' Eikones which describes 64 pictures in a Neapolitan villa. Ekphrasis is described in Aphthonius ' Progymnasmata , his textbook of style , and later classical literary and rhetorical textbooks, and with other classical literary techniques was keenly revived in the Renaissance.

In the Middle Ages, ekphrasis was less often practiced, especially as regards real objects, and historians of medieval art have complained that the accounts of monastic chronicles recording now vanished art concentrate on objects made from valuable materials or with the status of relics , and rarely give more than the cost and weight of objects, and perhaps a mention of the subject matter of the iconography. The Renaissance and Baroque periods made much use of ekphrasis. In Spain, Lope de Vega often used allusions and descriptions of Italian art in his plays, and included the painter Titian as one of his characters.

Cervantes , who spent his youth in Italy, utilized many Renaissance frescoes and paintings in Don Quixote and many of his other works. In England, Shakespeare briefly describes a group of erotic paintings in Cymbeline , but his most extended exercise is a line description of the Greek army before Troy in The Rape of Lucrece. Ekphrasis seems to have been less common in France during these periods. Herman Melville's Moby Dick , or The Whale features an intense use of ekphrasis as a stylistic manifesto of the book in which it appears.

In the chapter "The Spouter Inn", a painting hanging on the wall of a whaler's inn is described as irreconcilably unclear, overscrawled with smoke and defacements.

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The narrator, so-called Ishmael, describes how this painting can be both lacking any definition and still provoking in the viewer dozens of distinct possible understandings, until the great mass of interpretations resolves into a Whale, which grounds all the interpretations while containing them, an indication of how Melville sees his own book unfolding around this chapter. In Ibsen 's work The Lady from the Sea , the first act begins with the description of a painting of a mermaid dying on the shore and is followed by a description of a sculpture that depicts a woman having a nightmare of an ex-lover returning to her.

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Both works of art can be interpreted as having much importance in the overall meaning of the play as protagonist Ellida Wangel both yearns for her lost youth spent on an island out at sea and is later in the play visited by a lover she thought dead. Furthermore, as an interesting example of the back-and-forth dynamic that exists between literary ekphrasis and art, in eight years after the play was written Norwegian painter Edvard Munch painted an image similar to the one described by Ibsen in a painting he entitled unsurprisingly enough Lady from the Sea.

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Ibsen's last work When We Dead Awaken also contains examples of ekphrasis as the play's protagonist, Arnold Rubek, is a sculptor who several times throughout the play describes his masterpiece "Resurrection Day" at length and in the many different forms the sculpture took throughout the stages of its creation. Once again the evolution of the sculpture as described in the play can be read as a reflection on the transformation undergone by Rubek himself and even as a statement on the progression Ibsen's own plays took as many scholars have read this final play stated by Ibsen himself to be an 'epilogue' as the playwright's reflection on his own work as an artist.

In this novel, the protagonist, Prince Myshkin, sees a painting of a dead Christ in the house of Rogozhin that has a profound effect on him. Later in the novel, another character, Hippolite, describes the painting at much length depicting the image of Christ as one of brutal realism that lacks any beauty or sense of the divine. Rogozhin, who is himself the owner of the painting, at one moment says that the painting has the power to take away a man's faith, a comment that Dostoyevsky himself made to his wife Anna upon seeing the actual painting that the painting in the novel is based on, The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb by Hans Holbein.

The painting was seen shortly before Dostoyevsky began the novel.

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Though this is the major instance of ekphrasis in the novel, and the one which has the most thematic importance to the story as a whole, other instances can be spotted when Prince Myshkin sees a painting of Swiss landscape that reminds him of a view he saw while at a sanatorium in Switzerland, and also when he first sees the face of his love interest, Nastasya, in the form of a painted portrait. At one point in the novel, Nastasya, too, describes a painting of Christ, her own imaginary work that portrays Christ with a child, an image which naturally evokes comparison between the image of the dead Christ.

Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, who espouses a new hedonism, dedicated to the pursuit of beauty and all pleasures of the senses. Under his sway, Dorian bemoans the fact that his youth will soon fade. He would sell his soul so as to have the portrait age rather than himself. As Dorian engages in a debauched life, the gradual deterioration of the portrait becomes a mirror of his soul.

There are repeated instances of notional ekphrasis of the deteriorating figure in the painting throughout the novel, although these are often partial, leaving much of the portrait's imagery to the imagination. The novel forms part of the magic portrait genre. Wilde had previously experimented with employing portraits in his written work, as in The Portrait of Mr. In the 20th century, Roger Zelazny 's " 24 Views of Mt.


Fuji, by Hokusai " uses an ekphrastic frame, descriptions of Hokusai 's famous series of woodcuts, as a structural device for his story. Ekphrastic poetry may be encountered as early as the days of Homer whose Iliad Book 18 describes the Shield of Achilles , with how Hephaestus made it as well as its completed shape. Ekphrastic poetry flourished in the Romantic era and again among the pre-Raphaelite poets. A major poem of the English Romantics — Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats — provides an example of the artistic potential of ekphrasis. The entire poem is a description of a piece of pottery that the narrator finds immensely evocative.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 's "double-works" exemplify the use of the genre by an artist mutually to enhance his visual and literary art. Rossetti also ekphrasised a number of paintings by other artists, generally from the Italian Renaissance, such as Leonardo da Vinci 's Virgin of the Rocks. Ekphrastic poetry is still commonly practised. Auden , [5] which brings the tradition back to its start with an ironic retelling of the episode in Homer see above , where Thetis finds very different scenes from those she expects.

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Since the types of objects described in classical ekphrases often lack survivors to modern times, art historians have often been tempted to use descriptions in literature as sources for the appearance of actual Greek or Roman art, an approach full of risk. This is because ekphrasis typically contains an element of competition with the art it describes, aiming to demonstrate the superior ability of words to "paint a picture".

Many subjects of ekphrasis are clearly imaginary, for example those of the epics, but with others it remains uncertain the extent to which they were, or were expected to be by early audiences, at all accurate. This tendency is by no means restricted to classical art history; the evocative but vague mentions of objects in metalwork in Beowulf are eventually always mentioned by writers on Anglo-Saxon art , and compared to the treasures of Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard.

The ekphrasic writings of the lawyer turned bishop Asterius of Amasea fl. The inadequacy of most medieval accounts of art is mentioned above; they generally lack any specific details other than cost and the owner or donor, and hyperbolic but wholly vague praise. Journalistic art criticism was effectively invented by Denis Diderot in his long pieces on the works in the Paris Salon , and extended and highly pointed accounts of the major exhibitions of new art became a popular seasonal feature in the journalism of most Western countries.

Since few if any of the works could be illustrated description and evocation was necessary, and the cruelty of descriptions of works disliked became a part of the style. As art history began to become an academic subject in the 19th century, exphrasis as formal analysis of objects was regarded as a vital component of the subject, and by no means all examples lack attractiveness as literature.

Writers on art for a wider audience produced many descriptions with great literary as well as art historical merit; in English John Ruskin , both the most important journalistic critic and popularizer of historic art of his day, and Walter Pater , above all for his famous evocation of the Mona Lisa , are among the most notable. As photography in books or on television allowed audiences a direct visual comparison to the verbal description, the role of ekphrasic commentary on the images was even perhaps increased.

Ekphrasis has also been an influence on art; for example the ekphrasis of the Shield of Achilles in Homer and other classical examples were certainly an inspiration for the elaborately decorated large serving dishes in silver or silver-gilt , crowded with complicated scenes in relief , that were produced in 16th century Mannerist metalwork. There are a number of examples of ekphrasis in music, of which the best known is probably Pictures at an Exhibition , a suite in ten movements plus a recurring, varied Promenade composed for piano by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in , and then very popular in various arrangements for orchestra.

Jennifer Vogel, Or whoever crapped. Front Cover. Carter, Emma just crapped and put it in my hand! A turd. My child literally just Robin O'Bryant, Crapped ,. I I enclosure KEN sphere, circle, bloc, orbit outside the sphere kengai within the sphere kennai atmosphere kiken X'lH large sphere, big circle taiken! Vee David, It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken. Hunter S. Thompson, Damn, why these dreams playing tricks with my mind, my son growing up leading a life quite similar to mine; I got out of prison and talked to him face to face, and he spoke to me like a stranger from some far distant place; Marcus Cureton, Jan Groak, Clean Willy, very nervous, was drinking at the Hound's Tooth pub.

He left there about six and headed straight for the Holy Land. He moved swiftly through the evening crowds, then ducked into an alley; Michael Crichton, Another misunderstanding happened at the end of my gig on Earth. In the last act they had me hanging from a cross on top of Calvary Hill, the sun beating down like hot mustard on a rug burn. And my disciples? Mark Alan Norris, I tried to avoid stepping in the dog crap and stepped instead on someone's foot.

They looked at me with such anger, even though I Richard D. Kydd, Jr. As soon as we settled in by the pool during our last stay at The Riverside, a bird promptly crapped on me.

Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form
Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form Fourth Dimension: Free Spirited Spoken Word in Written Form

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