Informed by means of a provocative exhibition on the Louvre curated via the writer, The Severed Head unpacks creative representations of severed heads from the Paleolithic interval to the current. Surveying work, sculptures, and drawings, Julia Kristeva turns her famed serious eye to a examine of the top as image and metaphor, as non secular item and actual truth, extra constructing a serious subject in her work--the energy of horror--and the potential of the face to supply an event of the sacred.
Kristeva considers the pinnacle as icon, artifact, and locus of inspiration, looking a keener realizing of the violence and hope that drives us to sever, and now and again preserve, this kind of powerful item. Her examine stretches all of the as far back as 6,000 B.C.E., with people' early ornament and worship of skulls, and follows with the Medusa delusion; the mandylion of Laon (a holy relic during which the face of a saint appears to be like on a section of cloth); the biblical tale of John the Baptist and his counterpart, Salome; stories of the guillotine; glossy homicide mysteries; or even the rhetoric surrounding the struggle for and opposed to capital punishment. Kristeva translates those "capital visions" throughout the lens of psychoanalysis, drawing countless connections among their manifestation and sacred adventure and extremely a lot asserting the opportunity of the sacred, even in an period of "faceless" interaction.
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Extra info for The Severed Head: Capital Visions (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism)
And Christ at the mandylion are often present in Edessan constructions from the second one and 3rd centuries. much more lately in Russia, amulets with Gorgon mask have been made, referred to as zmeevki, or “images of serpents. ” not like smooth portray, the Byzantine icon doesn't reproduction an item from the exterior international; it doesn't signify it. It inscribes the presence of a non secular event; it makes us see God. If we needed to think about a picture there, we'd have to upload to this observe the that means it has in Christian theology, while it's a query of Christ as “image” of God. truthfully, an icon isn't really seen. it really is taken in, it truly is absorbed, it's skilled: it interprets an invisible international into the genuine snapshot forty-one its seen traces. Weren’t the Greek populations ready for this financial system of snapshot by way of the lengthy evolution in their personal event of the noticeable, which ended in the Gorgonian reﬂections? The gorgoneia and coral appear to shape the lacking hyperlink among the pagan sculptural and pictorial visibility of the Greeks and the recent prestige of the picture that needed to be proven within the West with Christianity. Abgar’s legend got here to supply a base for it: Christ’s head can be represented with out risking idolatry, because it was once a question of a illustration “not painted via the hand of guy. ” That used to be the argument of this legendary “imprint,” hence alleviating biblical doubts approximately idols. however, the ﬁction of the imprint by myself isn't really sufﬁcient foundation for the transubstantial worth of the “portrait. ” we have to glance back on the inspiration of the image’s genuine strength, at which the Greek adventure of the noticeable had arrived. This intrapsychic energy to conjure the invisible, to outlive regardless of the threats of death-and-thewoman during the artiﬁce of illustration, used to be already provided within the attributes of Medusa: her severed heard, the hissing serpents surrounding her. Christ used to be now not decapitated (that used to be Saint John the Baptist’s destiny, to which I’ll return), yet a section of fabric may possibly get rid of that crisis: the imprint of Christ’s face seemed there as if decapitated; with out shoulders or neck, the physique may be forgotten. Later, others might commit it to memory, and signify it, as, for example, this decapitated Christ-like physique provided for anatomical exploration, considering for a long time the experts in mandylions and veronicas had monopolized his head. A moment mythical snapshot, additionally acheiropoietos, “not made by means of the hand of man,” involves ﬁ ll the distance among the Holy Face and Medusa— among Jesus and the lady. it's a lengthy tale that starts off with an evangelical evocation. four A anonymous lady suffers from non-stop menstruation, however the ceaseless ﬂow of this Hemorrhissa stops whilst she touches the perimeter of Jesus’ cloak. five In an apocryphal textual content from the fourth century, the Acts of Pilate, Hemorrhissa is named Berenice for the ﬁ rst time, the Macedonian model of the Greek identify forty two the genuine snapshot Pherenice (Phere-nike: bearer of victory). additionally within the fourth century, Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical historical past (VII, 18, 1) reviews double statue have been erected in Caesarea in honor of the Savior and Hemorrhissa.