"Dissolving the Fourth Wall" with Tony Cutler

Department: Art History

Date and Time: November 6, 2017 | 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Event Location: HG 1800

Event Details

This lecture examines the artistic device in which one or more individuals depicted within an image regard us, even while we look at it from outside. Already extant in Greek red-figure vase painting, the motif recurs independently in Byzantine, Western Medieval and Italian Renaissance art. Following experiments of this sort in the late 19th century, the heyday of the form comes in the mid-20th century in Magritte’s Not to be Reproduced and Jasper Johns’s Target. Since there can be no question of influence across this huge span of time, some sort of theoretical scrutiny of this perennial motif is called for. Even sophisticated, contemporary videogames, predicated on the aesthetics of mutual observtion and the metaphysics of reciprocity remain unhelpful in this respect. Discussion is needed.

Dr. Cutler teaches courses in Late Antique, Early Christian, and Byzantine art. He also teaches graduate courses on theory, iconology, and methods of research. He has taught at Penn State since 1967 and is firmly convinced that the practice of research, leading to publication, is an integral part of teaching.