Theses Doctoral

Concepts of Time and Temporality in the Visual Tradition of Late Archaic and Classical Greece

Kim, SeungJung

This dissertation presents, for the first time, a freestanding account of notions of time and temporality as seen in the visual arts of the late Archaic and Classical Greece and contextualizes it within the larger cultural history of time. There is a growing consensus among scholars regarding a societal shift in fifth-century Greek attitudes towards time, from the authority of the past to the uncertainties and the immediacy of the present. This dissertation explores such changing notions of time in the visual tradition in four different ways: firstly through the personification of the key notion of kairos, which embodies on many levels the manifestation of this new temporality; secondly by investigating the emergent interest of the "historical present" in the artistic subject matter of the so-called Historienbilder; thirdly through a detailed investigation of new pictorial strategies in Greek vase painting that carry specific temporal attributes, by focusing on the motifs of jumping, lifting and dropping; and lastly, by dissecting the anatomy of the popular motif of "erotic pursuits" in vase painting, which embodies the sensory nature of this new temporality that hinges upon the notion of suspense and delay. These investigations employ a new phenomenological framework that centers on the "embodied viewer", connecting the temporality as understood by the viewer with that which is portrayed in the object, bringing together the visible temporality in art and the experienced temporality of the society, which the viewer inhabits. This framework is first sketched out by offering a phenomenological reading of a full 3-D digital reconstruction of the Lysippan Kairos. Such changes in the notion of time in the visual arts, seen as early as the late sixth century BCE and fully manifest in the Classical period, is also put into relief by a brief examination of analogous literary techniques, with a focus on the case of Aeschylus.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Mylonopoulos, Ioannis
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 13, 2014