Victor A. Grauer

©Victor A. Grauer, 1982


Roots of a Paradox:The Evolution of Pictorial Realism

Chapter 4

Window on the World

Our initial discussion of montage centered on its "scandal'': the kinship of an apparently innocent narrative device with the radical fragmentations of modernism. In order for film to function as a "language,'' the dual aspect of montage must be suppressed. With the advent of realism, another, apparently completely different dualism emerges, this time within the shot itself. The filmic image is at one and the same time "readable'' as a symbol and "seeable'' as a direct "analogue'' of the material world, In order for semiotics to function as a "science'' of film language, the "analogue image'' must be refuted.

Underlying both dualisms is a fundamental conflict between signification and that which opposes it. Modernist fragmentation attacks the continuities that give language its syntactic flow. Realist integrity resists the segmentations that permit articulation. As antagonists of language, realism and modernism are thus linked in common cause. Yet, at the same time, each seems to be resisting language from mutually opposed positions.

The symmetries holding among signification, modernism, continuity, realism and articulation suggest an intimate structural relation and a common base. Indeed, a constellation like this calls to mind the typical operations of structuralist analysis. Fortunately, however, it is not necessary to involve ourselves in the kind of purely formal investigation which would return us to the problematic abstractions of semiotics. The profound underlying equivalence of radical realism and radical modernism can best be grasped through the careful re-examination of a remarkable, only partly understood history.

The issue of realism as we have thus far encountered it is, of course, only a pale shadow of an earlier controversy that swept through all of Europe in the mid to latter part of the Nineteenth entury. During this period, Realism was a full fledged movement involving all aspects of cultural life, from literature to philosophy and economic theory. At the heart of this movement were the arts, most particularly literature and painting. It is the special history of realist painting, with its unique employment of the iconic sign, which must naturally concern us here.

Idealism and the Universal Plan

The issues of Realism as a movement are not quite the same as those relating to the problem of a vaguely defined "verisimilitude.'' Many artists of other periods were concerned with verisimilitude and had what could be regarded, very generally, as a "realistic'' style. But, as George Heard Hamilton has noted, in other periods "such realistic methods were used for the projection of conceptual statements, about the gods or God, or about the splendors and miseries of human life.''1

In their rejection of the notion of art as the conveyor of an essentially conceptual view of the world, the Nineteenth Century Realists anticipated the attitude of the Bazinians. The same rejection of "top to bottom'' aesthetics was the basis for a profound and far reaching reaction against an idealism which had dominated European culture for some time. This idealism had taken the form of a conflict between the Classicism of those who looked to the ancient world for inspiration, guidance, and discipline, and the Romanticism of those who yearned for the exotic, the mystical and strange. To art critic John Canady, both were simply opposite sides of the same coin. Neither Classicist nor Romanticist is able to accept "the ambiguities and confusions of life.'' Each must believe that "the forces around him and within him, all apparently working at odds against one another, must certainly be not accidental ...but animated toward meaningful order; must certainly be some part of a universal plan ...''2

The Realist artists, led by Gustave Courbet, were no longer interested in painting Greek and Roman antiquities, scenes from the lives of mythic heroes, scenes from history, exotic scenes, religious scenes, romantic scenes. They realized that painters who attempted this kind of thing were, from their "ivory tower,'' presuming to depict mere abstractions: "classic repose,'' "heroism,'' "love,'' "piety,'' etc. In rejecting these abstractions, Courbet and his followers were, of course, rejecting any idea of a "universal plan'' which might give them meaning. Increasingly aware of the immediate social and human problems ignored by Classicist and Romantic alike, they wanted painting to be a "window on the world,'' through which the viewer could see things as they "really'' were, not as they "ought to'' be in some ideal, fanciful Arcadia.

Manet's Naturalism

The initial goals of Realism must have seemed straightforward. According to Werner Haftmann, "the return to things-away from tradition, the museum, idealism-was marked by the joy of a new beginning, by confidence, security, self-assurance... However, the more keenly this reality was perceived, the stranger it became... There was a hidden relationship between `reality' and the beholder ...''3 These words could be a description of the passage from neorealism through cinéma vérité to Andy Warhol.

There is, in fact, a moment in art history which closely parallels the advent of Warhol to the world of film: the presentation of Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe at the Salon des Refuses, Paris, 1863.
This painting, depicting a nude woman in the company of two fully clothed men, created a notorious scandal. Its frank, unselfconscious realism was, of course, an affront to the idealists, but they were used to that kind of treatment. The greatest blow was felt by the Realists. In comparison with Manet's straight forwardness, absolutely unredeemed by any trace of sentiment or moral purpose, Courbet's type of realism was shown to be deeply compromised, a romantic realism only a small step beyond idealism. Intending his work to be simply a window on the world, his mode of perception had, nevertheless, been deeply influenced by earlier styles. He could not avoid idealizing his subjects, commenting on the state of society.

Manet's approach, dispassionate, cold, was closer to what came to be called "naturalism,'' a more purely objective form of Realism.4 His nude, totally unidealized, stares out at the viewer with a look that is both intimate and remote, the perfect complement to Warhol's eater. Both pose the same question: can we simply see?

The Perspective Window

The impersonality of Manet's naturalism suggests the mechanical attributes of the "staring dead eye,'' the camera. Indeed, photography played an important role in the history of painting at this time. For the anti-realists, all Realist art was "mere photography.'' For the naturalists, however, the camera became a tool and more: a model, a concrete metaphor for purified vision. Free from any trace of conceptualization photography was transparent, the very paradigm of the "window on the world.''

Our discussion of semiotics has prepared us for the ideological problems associated with the photographic apparatus. We need, at this point, to go into them more deeply. As Jean-Louis Baudry has reminded us, the camera has its origins in the camera obscura, a Seventeenth Century optical device used as an aid in perspective drawing. The modern camera "permits the construction of an image analogous to the perspective projections developed during the Italian Renaissance...[T]he effect [of photography] is still defined in relation to the ideology inherent in perspective.''5

The very notion of a "window on the world'' derives from the earliest theoretical work on perspective by Alberti, who defined it in terms of precisely this analogy. For Leonardo da Vinci "perspective is nothing else than seeing a place behind a pane of glass, quite transparent, on the surface of which the objects behind the glass are to be drawn.''6

This seems quite straightforward. However, there is an enormous gulf between perspective as a technique of projective geometry and a model for "natural'' perception. Even William Ivins, who makes great claims for perspective as a scientific tool, distinguishes between "a problem in geometrical optics'' and one in "physiological optics or psychology,'' conceding that, as model for the latter, perspective "may be regarded as a convention.''7

Anyone who has ever tried to trace a three-dimensional scene on a transparent surface can attest to the extremely un-natural demands of such a task. One eye must remain closed; the entire body must be kept completely rigid; a slight deviation of the head will throw all relationships completely askew; perception in any usual sense is completely subordinated to the carrying out of an essentially mechanical task.

Perspective and Ideology

Art critic John Berger has noted that "perspective makes the single eye the centre of the visible world arranged for the spectator as the universe was once thought to be arranged for God.''8 This statement gives us a clue to the ideological nature of perspective. In a conventional painting everything is presented in terms of an apparently passive background into which things are placed. In psychological terms we are seeing figures, that is forms or gestalts, displayed on a ground, what artists call "negative space.'' As gestalt psychology has demonstrated, the figure is all we consciously see; the ground is subliminal.9

What is this unobtrusive background? In one sense it is simply the surface of the canvas, rendered invisible by the illusion of depth. In another, more subtle, sense it is perspective space itself, invisibly guiding and controlling almost every aspect of what is painted and the way it will be perceived. Like ideology, like God, perspective secretly, invisibly arranges everything "behind the scenes,'' quietly manufacturing "nature.'' In this context, the very notion of a picture as a "window on the world'' reveals itself as an ideological construct, the paradigm of the idealist "universal plan.''

A Visual Syntax

Can we simply see? Any discussion of pictorial space in and of itself can provide only a partial answer to this basic question. For a more complete understanding we must once again consider the relation of perception to the process of signification.

The analysis of pictorial representation as a quasi-linguistic system of "readable'' signs is, of course, within the province of semiotics. As should now be obvious, the painted image falls under essentially the same system of iconic codes as those which Eco posited for photography.

Thus a traditional "realistic'' picture contains a hierarchy of signs. Objects can be broken down analytically into their various aspects: shaded areas, lighted areas, highlights, contours, etc. Each of these in turn is broken down into different kinds of marks: cross-hatching, stippling, thin lines, thick lines, color patches, etc. Out of all this grow the more complex gestalts which become signs for noses, ears, mouths, branches, bushes, etc. These in turn become faces, people, trees, buildings, etc.

There is a strong analogy between this process and the manner in which the elements of language are formed and come together on various levels to produce statements. For example, the physical marks, taken simply as such (Eco's figures), can be compared with the purely phonetic level of language, that of the simple sound continuum. These marks, broken down into significant classes (such as "cross-hatching'') which in themselves do not yet signify anything, would be equivalent to phonemes. Groups of such "phonemes'' brought together to produce a minimal unit to which meaning can be attached (Eco's signs) are analogous to morphemes (e.g. words). The next highest level (Eco's seme) would be a complete visual "phrase'' or "statement.''

Despite promising parallels of this kind, efforts at analysis of the icon in linguistic terms have, as we have seen, fallen short of success. To Eco and others, the principal difficulty lies on the paradigmatic level, with the nature of the signs themselves. Icons seem limited due to their similarity with what they represent. A much more serious stumbling block, however, seems to be the very special question of the nature of pictorial syntax.

The syntagmatic dimension of language brings together meaningful groups of paradigms to form higher level paradigms in any given text. For example, syntagmatic rules govern the way phonemes come together to form words. The organizational system which operates on the highest syntagmatic level is referred to as syntax.

Syntax can be described simply as a set of grammatical "rules'' but such a description is not really satisfactory, failing to take account of the need for a consistent point of view on the basis of which rules can be determined. Beyond the rules of language, therefore, must lie a fundamental logic or what linguist Noam Chomsky calls "deep structure''10

Is the "deep structure'' of pictorial language the same as that of verbal language? Or does the icon belong within a syntax of its own? An important clue is provided by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who has written of a "logical space'' within which thought and, by extension, language, operate.11 This analogy was inspired by an insight into the relation between the structure of thought and the nature of conventional pictorial design. In both cases there is a determining space or "field'' which can channel and control everything within it. In both cases also, such a field functions as an invisible background, perceptible only as a result of critical analysis. Metaphorically we may regard syntax as the "space'' of language in this sense.

Turning the analogy around, it becomes evident that, in purely pictorial terms, treatment of space has all the attributes of syntax. Specifically, the highly systematic and thorough organization of space which is perspective can easily be seen to function as the invisible, rule-determining "syntactic field'' of traditional Renaissance and post-Renaissance pictorial design. Thus the syntax controlling iconography is analogous to, but, in fact, completely different from, that of language. Once we grasp this, many problems associated with the icon fall away, and the deeply conventional role of perspective becomes even more apparent.

The Innocent Eye

In 1856, art historian and critic John Ruskin, sensitive to much of the above, had already formulated a notion intended to free the artist from the strictures of conceptual seeing. His phrase, "the innocent eye,'' coined in reference to the paintings of the great English landscapist J. M. W. Turner, became a watchword somewhat later for Manet's followers, the Impressionists. According to Ruskin, our image of the world is normally distorted by the fact that we have been schooled to see everything in terms of language. Our pre-determined concepts about the way things are supposed to look prevent us from seeing in any immediate sense. Therefore:

The whole technical power of painting depends on our recovery of what may be called the innocence of the eye; that is to say of a sort of childish perception of...flat stains of colour, merely as such, without consciousness of what they signify-as a blind man would see them if suddenly gifted with sight.

As an example, Ruskin discusses the fact that the color of grass is affected by the varying ways in which it is lit by the sun. In bright sunlight, he claims, grass is actually yellow. Yet, "having come to conclusions touching the signification of certain colours, we always suppose that we "see'' what we only know''; thus, we see the yellow grass as "green'' simply because we "know'' it to be so.12
Ruskin's analysis, with its invocation of learned conventions and the effects of signification, is a remarkably early formulation of the essential properties of pictorial ideology. Frequently attacked as hopelessly naive13, it is nevertheless a powerfully original and penetrating insight which still has importance. It is also, of course, a Pandora's box of hidden complications leading, as we shall see, to results that are far from "innocent.''

The Play of Light

From the point of view of Impressionist naturalism, the only way to get beyond conceptual seeing is to come to terms with light itself. The eye must be made innocent so that we can see, not the objects we "know'' are there, but the pure light reflected by them. Despite the camera's complicity with perspective ideology, which the Impressionists rejected, it nevertheless seemed to function in every other respect as an innocent light-gatherer, thus still an attractive metaphor and tool. In love with the notion of direct, spontaneous communion with the light, the Impressionists strove to eliminate pre-determined rigidities of pictorial syntax. Motifs were chosen which lacked deep perspective. Purely atmospheric effects were sought.

But the rigidities had organizational power. A conflict developed between the recording of effects of light on the retina as a naturalist project and the need to organize the canvas according to some principle. As perspective dissolved into effects of pure colored light, the works of the Impressionists lost touch, not only with a vestige of Classical idealism, but also with what was by far the strongest means of organizing space that had been available to them. Without such organization, the relation between the painting and the objects depicted on it grew more and more tenuous. The objects, in fact, became lost in a maze of color -- the naturalist impulse had given way to an amorphous play of colored paint.

From Window To Opaque Surface

The dissatisfaction of certain artists with the formlessness of Impressionism gave rise to Post-Impressionism. Seurat attempted to substitute a flat, frontal system of his own for perspective. Gauguin used broad areas of solid color to clarify his structures. Both reached the point where they were ready to abandon naturalism altogether in favor of a tightly structured flat design -- the "window on the world'' had become an opaque "artistic'' surface.14

Cézanne's Dilemma

To the question "can we simply see?'' Seurat and Gauguin would have answered, "yes, if we are willing to look at a work of art painted on a flat surface rather than a picture of the real world.'' This is a view which, by the year 1907, came to dominate the most advanced artistic thought and practice, ultimately giving rise to one school of what became known as "abstract'' art.

Meanwhile an artist who was a contemporary and cohort of the Impressionists had been at work on paintings which would ultimately revive the whole issue of realism. To the question "can we simply see?'' Paul Cézanne would have said "no -- we cannot see simply -- we must struggle to see -- but if we struggle hard enough then we can see aspects of the real world with some truth.''

Cézanne struggled both to paint and to see. Loss of faith in the objective reality of perspective was to him a catastrophe. It is one thing to abandon something in theory only and then simply sidestep the issue in one's work; it is another to caste aside that which in fact had made "seeing'' something that could be done "simply'' and plunge into the resulting chaos. How could one concern oneself with being a realist or naturalist if the very fabric of the real world, nature itself, were in doubt? Perspective was the heart of a language through which details of the visual field could be synthesized and understood. Without it the world dissolved into uncoordinated fragments.

A little reflection should clarify the nature of Cézanne's dilemma. Perspective views and wide angle photographs enable us to see a wide field of vision as though it were spread out before us all at once. It is possible to simulate this effect visually by staring out into space in such a way that our attention is not placed anywhere and everything is equally vague. If we wish to paint what we see in terms of the objects before us, we will need to break the spell and place our attention on details rather then the overall view. As we focus our attention on a particular thing it will command our visual field as in a closeup and seem to grow larger than it was when seen as part of the total field. Moreover, as we shift our attention to some other detail, our sense of its spatial relation to the first will weaken considerably. One thing will always command our attention while the things around it remain vague.

The fundamental difficulty, then, is to reconcile details with one another and with the total space. Perspective deals with this problem by creating an abstract, ideal background space within which every detail can be placed. But this geometric grid forces each object to exist passively within it. Idiosyncracies, special eye-catching features of unusual objects, will threaten the uniformity of the overall plan.15

An Example

Let us consider the way we might observe a distant mountain. If we were using mechanical instruments to observe it in strictly perspective terms, we would be creating an "ideal'' space as a container within which to "place'' it visually. We would also be creating a gap between nature, the mountain, and the man made geometric structure within which it must passively exist.

But a mountain is hardly a passive entity, visually. For a variety of reasons, it is generally the kind of thing which will attract our attention, even at a great distance. Because it looms greater in our consciousness, a distant mountain will appear larger in relation to other objects in the field of vision than it would in a strict perspective rendering or a photograph. The object is in this sense no longer passive, but creates its own space. Through its commanding visual structure, or form, it could be said to "warp'' the geometry of any perspective space we might, mentally, try to place it in. In terms of such an absolute space such an effect would be considered a distortion or illusion. In fact, it is so only in reference to the distortions which the perspective of the fixed view imposes on the fluid view of the eye.

If one wants simply to paint a distant mountain by itself, then there is no great problem. But what about the tree in the foreground, or the aqueduct in the middle distance, or the houses both near and far? All of these will also command our attention to a greater or lesser extent and therefore generate their own space.

It is important to note that the problem of painting such a view forces us to come to terms with it in this way. As we simply look at it, each detail generates its own space in the time of a single glance. Each glance is then integrated into a total mental synthesis in which the various spatial anomalies do not need to be reconciled. If, on the other hand, we want to paint the entire scene, then all the views must be integrated, not in the vaguely defined "spaces'' of our mental world, but the precisely defined space of a flat rectangular surface.

A Tortuous Compromise

Ever since the Renaissance, the "old masters'' were sensitive to the warping of perspective space by the forms of commanding objects. Compromises were created between such effects and the demands of perspective geometry such that the illusion of absolute uniform space in depth was retained and all distortions rendered more or less subliminal. An important aid in this respect was a practice often referred to as passage. Passage may be regarded as an art of transition, a way of passing smoothly from one form to another. For example, there might be a subtle but continuous passage from one edge of a yellow-green leaf in the foreground to a portion of a blue-green mountain on the horizon, contiguous with the leaf on the picture-plane. Or a shadow on the upper part of one side of a face might imperceptibly merge with a dark area in the background. By discreetly using passage to leave certain boundaries vague, the old masters could effectively mask the occasional conflicts that might pit an object-space against perspective.

Cézanne studied the old masters assiduously but was never satisfied with his own attempts to follow their lead. While they were content to make subtle compromises within a complex set of conventional rules ultimately controlled by perspective syntax, he was struggling to create a pictorial space on an ad hoc basis dependent entirely on scrutiny of the object. This involved a much more radical process of compromise between multiple centers of attention, each laying claims to its own space and the space around it, each tending to "warp'' the space of its neighbors and that of the picture as a whole.
In the words of Meyer Schapiro,

[Cézanne] loosened the perspective system of traditional art and gave to the space of the image the aspect of a world created free-hand and put together piecemeal from successive perceptions, rather than offered complete to the eye in one coordinating glance as in the readymade geometrical perspective of Renaissance art.16

This tortuous, "piecemeal'' process results in distortions which can no longer be held within traditional bounds, which can no longer remain discreetly subliminal. Not only do individual objects contend with one another, but larger objects call forth tensions within themselves. One part of a large pitcher may not jibe with another, so that, as a whole, it leans and swells unpredictably over areas of its visible surface.17 Table edges exhibit abrupt breaks in continuity, crudely, obviously, masked by crumpled tablecloths. Each object strains to assert formal dominion over its neighbors and, as a result, the entire structure seems ready to break apart

Faced with the possibility of a totally unreadable space, Cézanne is forced to rely heavily on that device used only sparingly by his masters: passage. Only by continually setting up vague, transitional areas between contending object-spaces can Cézanne mask the fundamentally discontinuous nature of his method. Spurred by necessity, his use of passage is varied and inventive. Contours are continually being broken and realigned. Color areas modulate into one another imperceptibly. Dark edges of forms bleed into one another or into the background. Even the device of using a tablecloth to cover a break in a table edge may be regarded as a form of passage.

While the complex transitions of Cézannian passage do succeed to some extent in reconciling contending forms, the underlying discontinuities ultimately become attached to the passages themselves. The overall space, pervaded by passage, becomes strangely "warped'' and multi-dimensional.

The Struggle To See

Werner Haftmann has written of the profoundly reciprocal relation, for Cézanne, between seeing and painting, nature and the artist: "for Cézanne it was only in terms of nature that the artist could `realize' his mind and at the same time painting was a method of `realizing' the world...To [painting's] `biological' task of reproducing something visible was added the new, spiritual task of making something visible in the first place.''18

In the absence of pictorial syntax, Cézanne struggled to find a structure which would fuse his vision with the natural world. The link between structure and seeing was such that he not so much struggled to see in order to paint, but painted as a part of his struggle to see. The act of painting forced him to organize his sensations. Thus, in a mature Cézanne, the complex interplay of compromises, adjustments and equalizations which will enable a disparate group of idiosyncratic objects to co-exist on a canvas, each within its own space, the space of its neighbors and the space of the totality, is a way of seeing and composing both. In the paintings that result, things are seen in and through the composition, however "chaotic'' it may appear. What Haftmann has called the "hidden relationship between reality and the beholder'' is somehow laid bare. Nature and structure, reality and art become one.

Chapter 5

The Window Shatters

Throughout most of his life, Cézanne was an isolated figure. As Impressionism gave way to Post-Impressionism, then to Fauvism, his single-minded attachment to the look of things seemed increasingly eccentric and irrelevant. Then, in the years between 1904 and 1907, the works of Cézanne became widely known and admired in Paris. His carefully meditated vision made the reigning style, Fauvism, seem superficial and gave rise to a reconsideration, on the part of certain younger artists, of problems of sober realism which had long been considered passé. Thus was Cubism born.1

The Cubist Explosion

Braque and Picasso, the "founders'' of Cubism, were inspired by Cézanne to a scrutiny of the objective world far beyond anything that had theretofor been attempted. During Cubism's early phase, familiar, ordinary things, bottles, glasses, newspapers, guitars, violins,and the inevitable tabletops, are subject to the most intense study, examined and reexamined in a variety of juxtapositions. In the process of "struggling to see'' the object in the depth of its own space only, without the aid of any system or set of conventions, the young Cubists discover the equivalence of analysis and dissection. Each thing, then each dissected part, begins to have a life, a space of its own. So fearsome is the Cubist hold on the visual fragment, the small detail on which a single act of attention can rest, and so strong is the pull of the contradictory spaces, that the object seems ready to explode.

By 1909, in a painting like Picasso's The Tube of Paint, the assorted odd objects, a ceramic rooster, a fancy bottle, a tube of paint, an apertif glass with a straw in it, a newspaper, etc. are transmuted into a mass of uniformly angular details to the point that even experts have had difficulty in identifying them. On first viewing the painting reads like a confused jumble of textures and anonymous warped surfaces. With the aid of a greatly simplified drawing, made some years later by Picasso, one can finally puzzle out the content of this truly remarkable picture.2 Studying The Tube of Paint, one begins to understand how scrutiny of the object becomes meditation on the act of seeing itself. In this painting, the visual world is projected into nothing more than surfaces tilting this way and that. Only when we know ahead of time what to see, do these surfaces compose themselves into a readable picture.

By 1910 "analytic'' Cubism enters a new phase. The object begins to come completely apart, literally fragmented into its own surfaces to the point that only the barest suggestion of the original remains. The surfaces themselves dissolve in turn, interpenetrate with one another as earlier the objects did. The viewer must actively struggle to see things through the maze of contradictory "warped'' spaces created by their own dissolving surfaces. Finally, with the beginnings of "synthetic'' Cubism, around 1912, the object is gone, replaced by its disembodied signs. The structure of the picture simplifies into relatively large, flat areas of surface on the border of total abstraction.

Facetting/Passage-the Lesson of Cézanne

In order to understand the process outlined above, we need to grasp the connection between Cubism and the remarkable pictorial strategies of Cézanne. An important clue emerges from the following observations by art historian Alfred Barr:

A comparison of The Seaport done by Braque in 190s with the Pines and Rocks of Cézanne painted only about a decade before, shows how Braque had studied Cézanne's late style. In both paintings the surfaces of the natural forms are reduced to angular planes or facets, depth is almost eliminated and frequently the foreground and background forms are fused by means of passages -- the breaking of a contour so that the form seems to merge with space.3

What Barr calls "angular planes or facets'' are, of course, the fragmented surfaces we have just been discussing, what we have called "the small details on which a single act of attention can rest.'' While obvious facetting is characteristic only of Cézanne's later works, the tendency to break up the picture space is a constant of his mature style. We have already discussed the problem posed by object-spaces and the need to reconcile them. A related problem emerges within the object itself, partly because certain areas of a given object might assert themselves more than others; partly because of the difficulty of rendering depth without perspective and conventional modelling. Each object asserts itself as a solid with a space in depth which must be adjusted to the demands of the flat canvas. By breaking the object down into a number of small facets, each can absorb a part of the overall distortion entailed in such an adjustment. The more facets, the less each need be distorted.4

With Cézanne facetting is a cautious somewhat disguised procedure; he did not want to completely break up the object. As his work develops, however, the facets become more important and the sense of tortuous spatial compromise lessens. Facetting is, of course, the key to Cubist "explosion'' of the object. A small planar fragment with a formlike aspect, the Cubist facet is both more "solid'' and more insubstantial than that of Cézanne. Often one edge is dark, the other light, with a gradual transition between, suggesting the kind of modelling effects used to create depth in conventional paintings. This element of substantiality is invariably refuted by the context. Illusions of depth in one direction are cancelled by conflicting suggestions pulling in the opposite direction. One moment, the facet can seem like an element of a solid or even a solid in itself; the next moment it can appear to vanish utterly, reduced to a motley set of irregular, disconnected lines.

Much of the instability of the facet as a form is due to the effects of Cubist passage. In a typical analytic Cubist canvas, each facet has edges linked by passage to that which surrounds it. These links open the facet to its neighbors and, more important, to what we might, very provisionally for now, call "space.'' It is in the relation of passage to "space'' that we find something fundamental.

In a recent essay, William Rubin notes that "one of the most crucial steps in the development of Picasso's Cubist style [is] the full assumption of the modernist possibilities of Cézannian passage...'' Later, speaking of Braque, he clarifies this remark:

Braque concentrated on the problem of painting what he called the "visual space'' that "separates objects from each other.'' This is precisely the space bridged by Cézanne's passage. Thus what Braque described as a "materialization of a new space''-- making space as actual, as concrete, and perceivable pictorially as the objects themselves -- was, in effect, the explicit articulation and radicalization of a Cézannian idea.5

An Evolution

In order to understand Rubin's puzzling comment on Braque's cryptic statement, we must review and analyze a remarkable evolutionary process. There is a fundamental conflict between perspective as a means of organizing global space and the space created by individual objects seen in specific acts of attention. Traditional paintings deal with this conflict by presenting objects as forms, or, in psychological terms, "gestalts.'' The surrounding space is simply an invisible background. This background, controlled by perspective, is perceived only indirectly -- as a "container'' within which the objects are placed. In terms of gestalt psychology, the objects are "figures'' seen in a "ground'' of "negative space.''

This situation is highly deceptive. What seems a completely passive "background'' is in fact a controlling "ideological'' scheme (perspective) to which each object passively submits. Insisting on his experience of the object as seen in its own space, Cézanne drastically weakens the perspective scheme. As a result, each object in his paintings exists in an idiosyncratic space which appears "warped'' with respect to the spaces (objects) around it. Passage, the creation of vaguely defined intermediate areas, is used as a means of reconciling the contending object-spaces. As it does so, however, the negative space between objects takes on their "warping.''

As facetting becomes more extreme in analytic Cubism, what was originally the invisible background space becomes increasingly assertive as an interlocking web of multiple warped passages, each attaching itself to a different form and pulling it apart. As the forms become increasingly fragmented, the difference between "positive'' form and "negative'' space, facet and passage, "figure'' and "ground'' becomes problematic.

Perception in terms of stable gestalts begins to give way completely as the forms of objects dissolve into more and more intricate webs of passage. The space of the ground, the negative space, becomes more and more visible, almost tangible, but very strange, like a "fourth dimension,'' or multi-dimensional field. Ultimately there is a powerful "surface tension'' between areas that could be interpreted as "figures'' and others that could be "grounds.'' In many cases we can see them interchangeably.

The Emergence of Negative Space

As we proceed from analytic to so-called "synthetic'' Cubism, a process of simplification begins. Facet lines are removed. Others are strengthened and linked. Passages open out into large, unified surface areas controlled by firm contours, spatial relations clarify and any lingering influence of perspective falls away. As perspective space was in fact the source of the original "warping,'' this effect now disappears. Negative space, unified by passage, ultimately pervades the picture area as a flat but tense surface. At this stage the mysterious "four dimensional'' negative space wonderfully resolves outward onto the prosaic, material space of the surface. This is the space that had been rendered invisible by gestalt perception.6

Passage, then, has the effect of ultimately promoting passive background space (the surface) into an active, highly plastic, negative space, creating a new sense of the overall surface exactly opposite to the overall, a priori "container space'' of the perspective gestalt. It truly is a negative of perspective space, a contained space, since formed a posteriori, from pieces of space molded and thereby "warped'' by objects and their facets. It is this negative space which becomes, in the words of William Rubin, "as actual, as concrete, and perceivable pictorially'' as objects.

Cubism and The Conceptual -- A Key Error

Having analyzed the manner in which Cubist passage ultimately subverts perspective, we must ask ourselves what consequence the emergence of a new space of the surface has for pictorial syntax and the meaning of the iconic sign. Our first task will be to rectify a fundamental error which considerably confuses this issue.

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, an intimate of both Braque and Picasso, in the course of discussing the difficulties posed by Cubism, observes that all paintings are systems of signs which the viewer must read like writing. What makes Cubism difficult is the fact that its signs are completely new. The uninitiated viewer, consequently, is able neither to read the signs nor put them together coherently.7 If Kahnweiler's notion is correct and Cubism is simply a new kind of pictorial language, we must inquire as to the nature of its syntax. At this point, the most misleading of all notions about Cubism presents itself: the theory of multiple views. In Kahnweiler's words,

instead of giving on the canvas only a single view of an object, the [Cubist] painter gave several views, He showed the same object-a bottle, let's say-as seen from the front, from the side, and from above. He even showed the bottom of the bottle.8

Kahnweiler goes on to imply that the Cubists fragmented objects according to multiple views so that their signs could then be reconstituted by the viewer over the course of time, the "fourth dimension.''9 According to this theory, the various signs cannot be brought together syntactically to form a whole unless one scans them angle by angle, as one would move around an object in real life, thus reconstructing them in "space-time.''

The idea that the elements of a Cubist painting could reconstitute themselves into whole objects through a space-time synthesis led to an even more misleading notion: Cubism was the expression of a purely conceptual view of reality. Thus Werner Haftmann speaks of the "representation of different aspects of an object in juxtaposition, so that the partial view of an object can be turned into a total mental view ...''10

There is of course nothing at all non-conceptual abut Renaissance practice where, as semiotic analysis has demonstrated, "partial views of objects" (lower level paradigms) are ''turned into total mental views" (higher level paradigms) as a matter of course. Indeed it was the Cubists and Cezanne who were concerned with ''recording only what the eye sees of things." We are here confronted with what is probably the most serious and far reaching of all the many misunderstandings regarding Cubism, one that showed itself early enough to affect not only the theory but the practice of most of those who attempted to follow the early Cubist masters.

In order to fully grasp the falsity of the ''multiple viewpoint" theory one need only compare a Cubist painting with some examples of Northwest Coast Indian art, where, indeed, objects are systematically splayed out so that all views, front, sides and back, are simultaneously visible, These representations appear confusing and unreadable until their very consistent language is explained.12 Once given the key, we can reconstitute the signified objects mentally with little trouble. Northwest Coast Indian art is a language with signs and syntax that are strange to us -- when we learn to read it, its ''partial views," like those of Renaissance art, are turned into ''a total mental view." Cubist paintings never resolve in this manner.

Conceptual Disjunction

In a recent article on Picasso, Leo Steinberg attacks the multiple viewpoint theory, clarifying the relation of Cubist practice to conceptual vision. Speaking of ''the fragmentation of solid structures for insertion in a relief-like space where no hint of reverse aspects survives," he notes that objects are not facetted for subsequent reintegration (like lower level paradigms) but ''the better to absorb their dismembered parts in the field..."

To Steinberg, the purpose of such facetting is precisely anti-conceptual: ''not to fortify the masonry of interlocked forms but on the contrary to disassemble their thinkable parts, so that conceptual disjunction parallels the visual fragmentation of the whole field." The ultimate goal of Cubist presentation of the ''here and there of divergent aspects" is in fact to ''impress the theme of discontinuity upon every level of consciousness."13

Signs Without Syntax -- The Context of Implication

Later, speaking of the African influence on Picasso's early, proto-Cubist work, Steinberg mentions his ''visionary emancipation of features from syntax." If he had taken African artistic principles for a model ''he would have been bartering one syntax for another." What he did learn from African art was ''the principle of features wayward enough to be treated like moveable signs..."14 At this point in his career, however, Picasso has not gone far beyond the Fauves, who had also dissolved perspective, also freed signs from syntax and also been influenced in a similar way by African art. In order for, in Steinberg's terms, conceptual disjunction'' to"parallel the visual fragmentation of the whole field'' so as to "impress the theme of discontinuity upon every level of consciousness,'' much more is required than the simple "emancipation of features from syntax.''

In the famous transitional work of 1907, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the women's faces and bodies are broken down into a variety of stereotyped signs, some drawn from Western high art, others from European and African "primitive'' art. Despite liberties taken with conventional syntax, the picture still "scans,'' the codes still function, the mind of the viewer still finds a way to put it all together mentally.
If we look, for example, at the leftmost figure, we see a woman who is lifting a curtain with her left hand. Covering all but the upper part of the picture, however, we can see something very different -- a head in profile with a disembodied hand sitting on top of it like a hat. The simple conjunction of sign for head and sign for hand is all we really see -- there is no visual suggestion that a left arm exists, only a mental one.

What is it that causes viewers to think they see an odd looking woman lifting a curtain when all they "really" see is a conglomeration of juxtaposed signs? We must recall the words of Eisenstein, quoted in Chapter 1: "we are accustomed to make, almost automatically, a definite and obvious deductive generalization when any separate objects are placed before us side by side.'' Even in the absence of a determinate syntax, there exists what we have called the "context of implication," a proto-syntax provided gratis by the mind, out of habit or internal structure, we know not which.

Not surprisingly, the context of implication can arise as readily in a painting as in a film. Thus, despite the fact that Picasso had gone a considerable distance in liberating iconic signs from syntax there remained, nevertheless, a proto-syntax which took its place, linking all the signs, forcing the viewer to "read'' the painting conceptually.

Negative Syntax

As Cubism develops, one of its crucial projects becomes the neutralization of the context of implication and the conceptualizing synthesis it demands. To this end merely doing without perspective and its attendant conventions is not enough. In the absence of syntax, meaning is still implied and will arise in the form of ambiguity. Only an active negation of syntax can effectively oppose the all pervasive integrative power of the mind.

Here we have the deeper meaning of the pictorial revolution we have just traced. If perspective space can be regarded as equivalent to conventional pictorial syntax, then its negation, negative space, is, in effect, the negation of that syntax. In this sense, negative space is equivalent to what we may call "negative syntax." Only in such terms can we understand the essentially disjunctive nature of Cubism throughout its development.

Space And Representation

Passage, after all, originated as an attempt to mitigate spatial disparities. In the "old masters," it softens discrepancies between assertive forms and the overall space. Cézanne used it for essentially the same purpose. During the development of analytic Cubism, passage does partake of a multidimensional "warping,'' but also serves to pull the total space together. With the advent of "synthetic'' Cubism, this space has been almost completely unified.

To understand how passage, from the very first, carried within itself the seeds of radical disjunction, we must turn our attention from space in itself to space in relation to iconographic signification -- representational space. The reconciliations of passage are not perceived within the space of representation. This space, controlled by perspective, is much too rigidly circumscribed to permit liberties of this sort. Passage operates entirely on the "subliminal'' surface, where its transitions are not easily perceived as such and can even serve to enhance effects of atmosphere and depth.

The multiple spatial disparities of Cézanne are so extreme that he is forced into liberal use of passage to mitigate them, As the picture depends more and more on such surface adjustments, the space of the surface begins to emerge in the awareness of the viewer. Since there is no room for such a space in traditional iconographic syntax, the viewer tends to interpret the emergence of the surface as a distortion of the space surrounding the depicted objects. Thus the disparities that passage originally covered over, disparities between represented objects, re-emerge as disparities within the visual syntax.
While emergence of the surface was a serious problem for Cézanne, who wanted to preserve representation, it was seized upon by the Cubists as a means of iconographic analysis and disruption. In their hands passage weakens representational space/syntax so that it can be radically distorted and dismantled.

A "Visual Paradox''

Easily grasped examples of this strategy can be found in a relatively early "analytic'' Cubist canvas, Picasso's The Reservoir, Horta de San Juan, of 1909. The roof of the central building is depicted by a single facet whose rightward tilt would normally cause one to see it as receding into depth. It is linked by passage, however, to a facet depicting the side of a building immediately to the left. This link tends to pull the upper part of the roof facet forward, in conflict with the "grammatical'' recession into depth.
The facet to the left is pulled even more radically in two directions. As an iconic sign for the right side of a building, it must be "read'' as receding from left foreground to right background, But the passage to the adjoining rooftop weakens this effect, while the facet's proportions15 (which suggest "reverse perspective'') tend to pull it in the other direction. The resulting tension thrusts a piece of the "background,'' contiguous with the facet on the upper right, forward. This dark, triangular shape "commandeers'' the facet as though the shape were the front of another building, with the facet as its left side. In this case the facet must be read as receding from right to left. With the same signifier torn apart by contrary bits of visual "grammar,'' any effort to grasp its signified is thwarted.

We can now understand why Cubism has seemed primarily a conceptual art to so many experts. The bite of its paradoxes can be felt only to the extent that one can grasp subtleties of pictorial syntax, an essentially conceptual task. But the signifying process involved was already imbedded in the traditional pictorial language which Cubism takes as its point of departure, pulls apart and deconceptualizes.


The Reservoir is still a reasonably "readable'' work, despite its many paradoxes. As "analytic'' Cubism develops, the entirety of the representational space becomes much more thoroughly saturated with passages and contradictorily aligned facets. In the resulting fragmentation, these facets, remnants of iconic signs, become detached from the objects they would ordinarily unite to signify. The object all but vanishes as a readable signified, its sign elements disassembled in such a way that no effort at conceptual resynthesis can be completely successful.

A good example is Picasso's Ma Jolie, of 1911-12. Careful study gives one a sense of a woman seen from the waist up, in profile, strumming on a zither-like instrument. This information is gained only in bit and pieces, however: one sees a curved line that could be a chin, a diagonal above it that could be a nose in profile; below these a grouping of three curved lines within a small triangular shape can be read as a hand; two diagonals meeting at a point to the right seem to form an elbow; etc. These fragments are all located more or less where they "should'' be in terms of human anatomy. But no amount of puzzling can bring them all together to give us the familiar gestalt of a human side view The upper part of the elbow, for example, stops abruptly short of any upper arm or shoulder. The facet which it outlines is pushed forward to the surface and appears completely flat. Almost any area which must be read spatially in a certain direction in order to "scan'' overall is pulled in another direction locally by disembodied spatial cues.

As should be evident, fragmentation in itself would not be sufficient to thwart pictorial syntax so thoroughly that no coherent human form can emerge. Fragmentation is, in fact, just as much a part of conventional syntax (pictorial and linguistic) as Cubism. It is the effect of negative space, the space of the surface, brought forward and linked by passage, functioning as negative syntax, which works against any tendency, syntactic or proto-syntactic, to integrate the fragments, thoroughly exploding gestalt perception.


While representation disintegrates, its disembodied sign-parts (Eco's figures) continue to exist in the multi-dimensional "depth'' created by the now free floating shadings and fragmented recession lines linked throughout the surface by passage. The solid substance of depicted things becomes transferred in this manner to their isolated signs. Through a remarkable process of evolution, representational disjunction leads to perceptual intensification. The facets take on a substance, a weight all their own.
As Cubism evolves, they begin to expand, to take up more space on the picture surface and this surface begins to emerge more and more with a weight of its own. What appeared to be a vague warping of representational space turns out to be a flattening and consequent clarification of surface space. What appeared to be a breakdown of solid things into their weightless, conceptual parts (their signs), turns out to be a transfer of visual weight from conceptually depicted things to the real surface on which they have been depicted.

Symbolic perception in terms of an overall coordinating representational gestalt, a whole "greater than the sum of its parts,'' has been subverted and transformed into purely visual perception of parts and wholes existing in a context of mutual equivalence. Thus the flat space of so-called "synthetic'' Cubism is not just simply "flat.'' It is the result of a painful and complex evolution, a space with a very special quality. All the visual weight of substantial things in the real world has been pressed onto these surfaces and, in the process, a new art of the surface is born.

The process outlined above could be described as a (Hegelian) "dialectic,'' a kind of circular argument leading to a "reversal'' in which a self-contradictory notion is "opened'' and resolved. The self-contradictory notion, in this case, has been "realism.'' The problem of pictorial representation of the "real'' world has resolved itself into the project of perceptual determination of the material surface.

Futurism-Fetishization of the Negative

A danger in any dialectical process is that, at any given "moment'' of its development, a single aspect may be overemphasized, "fetishized,'' to the point that the process as a whole is arrested and the original contradiction reemerges. This was, in fact, a very real possibility at the height of analytic Cubism when, as we have seen, the facetting of the object became extreme. Picasso and Braque were disturbed by this development and we can guess why. The simple-minded movement from "positive'' unification to "negative'' fragmentation as fragmentation pure and simple is only an illusion of liberation of the particular from the ideal "totality.'' This was the direction taken by Impressionists like Monet, the very "solution'' rejected by Cézanne.

Isolated fragments cannot in themselves resist the forces which will tend to fuse them into a new or return them to the old, totality. Pure fragmentation, pure "materiality'' is negativity without syntax, thus without structure, thus with no means of preserving itself, thus not really negativity at all. The key, then, is not the anarchy which resists organization at all costs, but reorganization along lines which can not only create but preserve independence. Such independence will "depend'' only on that which preserves it. Cubist fragmentation could be part and parcel of negative syntax only up to a point. When this point was reached, as we have seen, the "logic'' of the process itself led to a typically dialectical reversal: the reorganization onto a simplified surface that is synthetic Cubism.

In 1911, at the height of analytic Cubism, a group of Futurists travelled to Paris, visiting the studios of the leading Cubists. Not surprisingly, it was the extreme fragmentation and dislocation of space that most struck them. Attempting to outdo the French avant-garde, the Futurists proceeded to intensify fragmentation to the point of pulverization. Assuming that Cubism was a matter of multiple views, they multiplied views with a vengeance. The resulting paintings provide us with a perfect example of a dialectic arrested by fetishization.16 Through extreme fragmentation, the individual fragments lose all weight and the surface dissolves with them. Despite Futurist attacks on both rationalism and perspective, the rationalistic basis of perspective, projective geometry, is revived and becomes dominant. Invisible and mysterious "forces,'' actually the vectors of a controlling geometric design, become the new "container'' within which every detail must find its place. The idealist "master plan'' is discovered anew.

A Futurist Illusion

A good deal about Futurism is clarified through realization of the degree to which its artists responded to the idea that Cubist fragments represented multiple viewpoints that could be integrated over time. The implications of this notion are the subject of a penetrating discussion by art critic Rosalind Krauss. Writing of the sculpture, Development of a Bottle in Space by the Futurist Boccioni, she calls it "a work that equates the concerns of sculpture with concerns about how things are known.'' Boccioni attempts to make his bottle known "in terms of a full conceptual grasp of the thing, a grasp which supercedes the incompleteness of any single, isolated perception.''

[Boccioni] had segregated his Bottle from real space -- from the world in which we actually move -- to install it firmly within something that can only be characterized as conceptual space. . . Both the mental space and the object which reflects its structure are understood to exist beyond the realm of inchoate matter that characterizes literal space. The illusionism which enshrouds Boccioni's Bottle is thus an illusion of motion which is in turn a model of conceptual integration. And for the illusion to operate, the bottle must be seen as transcending real space.17

If there was ever "an illusion of motion which is in turn a model of conceptual integration'' capable of "transcending real space'' and time as well, it is certainly embodied most impressively in film. Indeed, the Futurists looked to the cinema, not simply as a potential art form, but as a master metaphor ruling most aspects of their esthetic.18 With the above observation, our argument has come full circle. If cinema partook of a "scandalous'' affinity with modernism, it was, at the same time, a questionable model for a revolutionary esthetic.


Chapter 4--Window On The World

1. George Heard Hamilton, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art (New Jersey and New York:Prentice-Hall and Abrams [undated] )p. 82.
2. John Canady, Mainstreams of Modern Art (New York:Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1959) p. 91.
3. Werner Haftmann, Painting in the Twentieth Century (New York:Praeger, 1965) pp. 64, 65.
4. Acccrding to George Heard Hamilton, naturalist paintings depend "solely on natural facts stated without comment,'' while Realist works carried "implications of expressive content.'' Hamilton states that the term was first used around 1860 in reference to literary developments. Op. cit. p. 83.
5. Baudry, op. cit. p. 41.
6. For a thorough analysis of the perspective illusion and its ideology, see E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (Princeton:Princeton University Press, 1960). Alberti and Leonardo are quoted on p. 299.
7. William M. Ivins, Jr., On the Rationalization of Sight (New York:Metropolitan Museum of Art Papers No. 8, 1938); reprinted (New York:Da Capo Press, 1973) p. 14.
8. John Berger et al., Ways of Seeing (London:Pelican,1972) p. 16.
9. The classic presentation of the gestalt position is probably Wolfgang Köhler's Gestalt Psychology (New York:Liveright,1947) .
10. Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures (The Hague:Mouton, 1957).
11. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) (London:Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961). Wittgenstein's original formulation, having much in common with realism, seemed to posit a literal connection between space and thought. His later writings either correct or elaborate on this view, depending on whose interpretation is consulted.
12. John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing (London, 1857). Quoted in Gombrich, op. cit. p. 296. Gombrich's discussion of Ruskin's formulation is extensive and valuable. Nevertheless his tendency to confuse the notion of the "innocent eye'' with more conventional approaches to realism leads to some confusion.
13. See, for example, Gombrich, op. cit. p. 298.
14. This is, of course, an oversimplified characterization. Post-Impressionism involved symbolic and expressive dimensions of great importance and influence.
15. One of the clearest expositions of the contradictions discussed here can be found in Aaron Berkman's Art and Space (New York:Social Sciences Publishers, 1949); see especially pp.115, 116. I am indebted to Berkman for many insights regarding Cézanne.
16. Meyer Schapiro, Paul Cézanne (New York:Harry N. Abrams, 1952) pp. 9, 10.
17. See, for example, the analysis by Merleau-Ponty in his "Cézanne's Doubt,'' in Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Sense and Non-Sense, trans. Hubert and Patricia Dreyfus (Evanston:Northwestern University Press, 1964) pp. 13, 14.
18. Haftmann, op. cit. pp. 31, 33.

Chapter 5--The Window Shatters

1. The link with realism is emphasized in the first theoretical work on the subject, Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, Cubism (1912), translated and excerpted in Theories of Modern Art, ed. H. B. Chipp (Berkeley:University of California Press, 1968)
To estimate the significance of Cubism we must go back to Gustave Courbet.
[After Courbet and Manet, the] realistic impulse is divided into superficial realism and profound realism. The former claims the Impressionists ...and the latter Cézanne...To understand Cézanne is to foresee Cubism. (pp. 207-209)
2. This drawing is reproduced in Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Cubism and Abstract Art (New York:Museum of Modern Art, 1936) p. 41.
3. Ibid. p. 31.
4. This is the basic principle of Buckminster Fuller' s "Dymaxion Map'' of the world, which is facetted into twenty triangular segments. Since the distortion is equally distributed among the segments, no one part of the map is seriously distorted, as in conventional projections. See Hugh Kenner, Bucky (New York:Morrow, 1973) pp. 1-3 and 111-113.
5. William Rubin, "Cézannisme and the Beginnings of Cubism,'' in Cézanne, the Late Work, ed. W. Rubin (New York:The Museum of Modern Art, 1977) pp.169.
6. There is an intriguing similarity between this type of resolution and that which occurs in the Japanese game of Go, when areas are opened through the removal of captured stones.
7. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, My Galleries and Painters (New York:Viking Press, 1971) p. 57.
8. Ibid. p.63.
9. The earliest statement of the "fourth-dimensional'' theory appears in Guillaume Appollinaire, Les Peintres Cubistes (Paris, 1913)
10. Haftmann, op. cit. pp. 99, 100.
11. Douglas Cooper, The Cubist Epoch (London:Phaidon Press,1971) p. 11.
12. See Franz Boas, Primitive Art (New York:Dover, 1955) pp.1 83-298.
13. Leo Steinberg, Other Criteria (New York:Oxford University Press, 1972) pp. 154-160. Steinberg's analysis is intended by him to apply only to Picasso, not Braque. In my view this distinction may be ignored for general purposes.
14. Ibid. pp. 165, 166.
15. The significance of proportional determination will be discussed in chapter 8.
16. I hope these comments will not be misconstrued. I am trying throughout to make crucial, formal distinctions, not lay down laws of artistic value. Many Futurist works must be regarded as masterpieces of a high order indeed.
17. Rosalind Krauss, Passages in Modern Sculpture (New York: Viking Press, 1977) pp. 43-53.
18. "The Italian Futurist painters, in their fascination with capturing the sensations of physical movement, have frequently been linked with the methods of film; Roger Allard's reference to the Futurists, `who all have movie cameras in their stomachs,' in 1911 is perhaps the first of many such observations.'' Standish Lawder, The Cubist Cinema (New York:New York University Press, 1975) p. 7.