Complicity in Spectatorship Bystanders and Beholders in the »Massacre of Innocents« of Giotto and Giovanni Pisano
PDF, 20 pages
The special case of lustful murdering soldiers of King Herod and the introduction of spectators on frescos by Giotto and pulpits by the Pisani are at the core of this contribution, which poses the question: How is cruelty visualized in Italy around 1300? The introduction of detached spectators in opposition to engaged or deeply affected participants in scenes representing the »Murder of the Innocent« leads to the question whether the ostentatious representation of violence contributed to making sense of the limits of culture and building coherence into immediate experience.
The invention of depicting figures participating in an event — nameless bystanders, beholders, and onlookers — marks an important change in the ways artists addressed the beholder of the artworks themselves. This shift speaks to a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their audience. The public in the picture acts as mediator between times, persons, and contents. The contributions of this volume describe this moment from a diachronic and transcultural perspective, while each of them focuses on a specific group of works revealing a new moment in this history. They explore the cultural contexts of the political and religious public, and relate the rise of the public in the picture to the rise of perspectival representation (Panofsky’s space-box and Kemp’s Chronotopos).