He goes home and writes a poem inspired by the color orange.
He commences with the original form of a bed, one of a variety of ways a bed may have been constructed by a craftsman and compares that form with an ideal form of a bed, of a perfect archetype or image in the form of which beds ought to be made, in short, the epitome of bedness. In his analogy, one bedness form shares its own bedness — with all its shortcomings — with that of the ideal form, or template.
A third bedness, too, may share the ideal form. He continues with the fourth form also containing elements of the ideal template or archetype which in this way remains an ever-present and invisible ideal version with which the craftsman compares his work. As bedness after bedness shares the ideal form and template of all creation of beds, and each bedness is associated with another ad infinitum, it is called an "infinite regress of forms".
From form to ekphrasis[ edit ] It was this epitome, this template of the ideal form, that a craftsman or later an artist would try to reconstruct in his attempt to achieve perfection in his work, that was to manifest itself in ekphrasis at a later stage.
Artists began to use their own literary and artistic genre of art to work and reflect on another art to illuminate what the eye might not see in the original, to elevate it and possibly even surpass it.
Plato and Aristotle[ edit ] For Plato and Aristotleit is not so much the form of each bed that defines bedness: It is the same with written words; they seem to talk to you as if they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever".
In the Middle Ages, ekphrasis was less often practiced, especially as regards real objects, and historians of medieval art have complained that the accounts of monastic chronicles recording now vanished art concentrate on objects made from valuable materials or with the status of relicsand rarely give more than the cost and weight of objects, and perhaps a mention of the subject matter of the iconography.
The Renaissance and Baroque periods made much use of ekphrasis. In Spain, Lope de Vega often used allusions and descriptions of Italian art in his plays, and included the painter Titian as one of his characters.
Cervanteswho spent his youth in Italy, utilized many Renaissance frescoes and paintings in Don Quixote and many of his other works. In England, Shakespeare briefly describes a group of erotic paintings in Cymbelinebut his most extended exercise is a line description of the Greek army before Troy in The Rape of Lucrece.
Ekphrasis seems to have been less common in France during these periods. The narrator, so-called Ishmael, describes how this painting can be both lacking any definition and still provoking in the viewer dozens of distinct possible understandings, until the great mass of interpretations resolves into a Whale, which grounds all the interpretations while containing them, an indication of how Melville sees his own book unfolding around this chapter.
Both works of art can be interpreted as having much importance in the overall meaning of the play as protagonist Ellida Wangel both yearns for her lost youth spent on an island out at sea and is later in the play visited by a lover she thought dead.
Furthermore, as an interesting example of the back-and-forth dynamic that exists between literary ekphrasis and art, in eight years after the play was written Norwegian painter Edvard Munch painted an image similar to the one described by Ibsen in a painting he entitled unsurprisingly enough Lady from the Sea.
In this novel, the protagonist, Prince Myshkin, sees a painting of a dead Christ in the house of Rogozhin that has a profound effect on him. Later in the novel, another character, Hippolite, describes the painting at much length depicting the image of Christ as one of brutal realism that lacks any beauty or sense of the divine.
The painting was seen shortly before Dostoyevsky began the novel. Though this is the major instance of ekphrasis in the novel, and the one which has the most thematic importance to the story as a whole, other instances can be spotted when Prince Myshkin sees a painting of Swiss landscape that reminds him of a view he saw while at a sanatorium in Switzerland, and also when he first sees the face of his love interest, Nastasya, in the form of a painted portrait.
At one point in the novel, Nastasya, too, describes a painting of Christ, her own imaginary work that portrays Christ with a child, an image which naturally evokes comparison between the image of the dead Christ.
Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, who espouses a new hedonism, dedicated to the pursuit of beauty and all pleasures of the senses.Archives, Writing Classes Since the days of Homer, writing about visual art has had an important place in poetry.
This class welcomes both writers and visual artists to examine different forms of ekphrasis, from poems focused solely on description to those using art objects as metaphor. Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art - "And first Hephasestus makes a great and massive shield, blazoning well-wrought emblems all across its surface, raising a rim around it, glittering, triple-ply with a silver shield-strap run from edge to edge and five layers of metal to build the shield itself.".
Writing for art is a concise introduction to the subject of ekphrasis, and the first study to offer a useful general survey of the larger philosophical and theoretical questions arising from the encounter of literary texts and artworks.
Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art: This page from the American Academy of Poets explains ekphrasis and provides links to poetry inspired by art. back to top FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE. Poets have used art as inspiration for centuries. Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Thank you to everyone who participated in our ekphrastic Van Gogh challenge, which ends Friday.
The prompt this time is Summer Joy, by Anders Zorn. Deadline is September Everyone can participate! Try something new if you've never written from visual art before and discover why there are so many of us devotees.
Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art: This page from the American Academy of Poets explains ekphrasis and provides links to poetry inspired by art. back to top FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE.
Poets have used art as inspiration for centuries.