Beyond the Expressivity of Painting: The Phenomenology of Kuspit’s Forgotten Gaze

Jonathan Conley
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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.

Keywords: Philosophy
Stream: Analysing Artforms, Meaning and Representation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Beyond the Expressivity of Painting

Jonathan Conley

Boston College
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Ref: A06P0356