Image Studies

Image Studies

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Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology

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Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology
W.J.T. Mitchell
University of Chicago Press, 1987, ISBN: 978-0226532295.

Online Review: In Iconology, Mitchell explores the ways in which the idea of imagery in relation to notions of picturing, imagining, perceiving, resembling, and imitating is discussed in various discourses in attempt to discover what an image is and what the difference is between word and image.  Mitchell, in other words, explores the rhetoric of imagery, otherwise known as iconology, the “logos” (words, ideas, discourse) of icons (images, pictures, or likeness)—a tradition that essentially studys what images say (by persuading, telling, describing, etc) (1).   His proclaims rhetorical purpose is “to show how the notion of imagery serves as a kind of relay connecting theories of art, language, and the mind with conceptions of social, cultural, and political value” (2).  What he uncovers through an exploration of various theories forwarded by Gombrich, Goodman, and Burke) is that iconology is also a study of the “political psychologicy of icons, the study of iconophobia, iconophilia, and the struggle between iconoclams and idolatry” (3). As such, Mitchell uncovers how “the notion of ideology is rooted in the concept of imagery, and reenacts the ancient struggles of iconoclasm, idolatry, and fetishism” (4). [SEE MORE…]

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