The Invention of the Art of Drawing (1791) illustrates the Butades myth.
The myth is reported by Pliny.
This is the story: a certain Kora (also called Callirhoe), was in love with a boy at Corinth who had to leave the country. Whereupon she drew on the wall the outline of the shadow of his face. From this outline her father Butades modeled a face in clay, and baked the model, thus preserving for his daughter a face in relief of the boy she loved.
My thoughts? Amazing, but, couldn’t Butades just as well have made a death mask of the face of the boy?
This post is inspired by Victor Stoichita‘s book Short History of the Shadow (1997).
PS Pliny’s shadows remind me of da Vinci’s stains.
Photo (I accidentally mirrored it) of three books by Victor Stoichita. It shows (from left to right) The Pygmalion Effect, Visionary Experience in the Golden Age of Spanish Art and Short History of the Shadow.
The photo was taken against the backdrop of the University of Antwerp library at the Prinsstraat.
I was surprised to find these books in the collection of the Ruusbroec Institute of all places. Not so surprising it would appear the following day after doing my homework, as on February 6th 2014 Stoichita gave a lecture at the UCSIA, on the visionary experience in art. John of Ruysbroeck (after which the Ruusbroec Institute was named) was a Flemish mystic and Stoichita has written on the visionary experience.
A pity I missed that lecture.
Victor Stoichita’s oeuvre very obliquely reminds me of David Toop‘s and especially his last work Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener (which I have still to read, or better said, “hold in my hands”, as I’ve researched it already online), in particular the chapter Art of silence. As I’ve noted in a previous post, in that book Toop references Stoichita. Three times, to be exact, I just checked.
I started reading Short History of the Shadow and in the introduction I found Plato’s cave, Pliny’s shadow and Hegel on lightness and darkness.