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Picturing the Messianic:Agamben and Titian's The Nymph and the Shepherd

Palladino, Paolo (2010) Picturing the Messianic:Agamben and Titian's The Nymph and the Shepherd. Theory, Culture and Society, 27 (1). pp. 94-109. ISSN 1460-3616

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Abstract

In The Open (2002), a series of reflections on the historical endeavours to define the essential features of the human figure in relation to the biological existence it shares with animals, Giorgio Agamben offers a detailed reading of Titian’s painting The Nymph and the Shepherd. He argues that the scene depicted enables the contemporary viewer to visualize the advent of radical freedom, the moment when the historical dialectic of nature and culture comes to a ‘stand-still’. In this article, I offer a different reading of The Nymph and the Shepherd, whereby the advent of radical freedom and death become indistinguishable. This different reading, I argue, calls into question Agamben’s understanding of corporeal being. I conclude by suggesting more speculatively and tentatively that ‘bioart’, the field now emerging at the intersection of the creative arts and the bio-medical sciences, may provide a better site of reflection on the questions Agamben ultimately poses about the future of bio-political governmentality.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Theory, Culture and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: aesthetics ; Giorgio Agamben ; Walter Benjamin ; bio-politics ; Erwin Panofsky
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > History
ID Code: 32131
Deposited By: Dr Paolo Palladino
Deposited On: 10 Mar 2010 10:30
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2012 13:32
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/32131

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