Beyond the Expressivity of Painting: The Phenomenology of Kuspit’s Forgotten Gaze
In this presentation I will compare and contrast art historian Donald Kuspit’s notion of the expressive gaze with Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of painting, paying particular attention to Merleau-Ponty’s work on painter Paul Cezanne in the essay “Cezanne’s Doubt”. The first section of this essay will outline Kuspit’s analysis of the natural, intellectual and diplomatic gazes in the paintings of Velazquez, Goya and Ribera. Building upon this, the second section will address Merleau-Ponty’s essay entitled “Cezanne’s Doubt”, focusing upon the function of nature in the work of Cezanne. The third and final section will compare and contrast the tension of the natural and the intelligible in “Cezanne’s Doubt” and the natural and intellectual in Kuspit’s “Expressive Gaze”, claiming that both Merleau-Ponty and Kuspit demonstrate a similar method and strategy to describe the fundamental structure of vision expressed in painting.