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Prophetic Pictures Or: What Time is the visual?

Pinney, C; (2021) Prophetic Pictures Or: What Time is the visual? In: Carroll, T and Walford, A and Walton, S, (eds.) Lineages and Advancements in Material Culture Studies Perspectives from UCL Anthropology. (pp. 158-170). Routledge: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter attempts to anchor the dialectic between the representation of antecedent signifiers and futurity in the specific context of a corpus of illustrated nineteenth-century astrological almanacs before then striking out to attempt to explore the unlikely prophetic echoes apparent in photography. The Pythoness of the East, and Raphael’s nominalist appropriation of a Jewish identity, points to the Prophetic Messenger’s role as an agent of cultural critique. In fact, Raphael’s usage owed more to the Renaissance fantasy of picture-writing descended from Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili first published by Aldus Manutius in 1499 in Venice. Raphael’s almanacs were striking for the prominence given to a ‘prophetic hieroglyphic’ published as a frontispiece to each annual issue. This nineteenth-century usage echoes Walter Benjamin’s sense of a ‘picture-writing’ descended from the great Renaissance text Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. For Benjamin, as for Pierre Bourdieu, photographs are allegories, but they are portents of a future for which there might be a key.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Prophetic Pictures Or: What Time is the visual?
ISBN: 1350127485
ISBN-13: 9781350127487
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4324/9781003085867
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003085867
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111120
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