On image agency





image, image agency, early modern time, politic, art, power


Horst Bredekamp is an art historian and representative of the science of images (Bildwissenschaft), known for his research on the image agency. In the two reviewed works, the image appears as an independent agent that operates in the political space and essentially creates this political space. In the study "Image  Act. A Systematic Approach to Visual Agency" (2018), Bredekamp attempts to systematize the methods of image action. The types of acts singled out by the researcher exist outside of linear chronology and are ways of manifesting an image. The image can combine several different types of acts. First, Bredekamp considers the image as a determinant of man as a species, a manifestation of the cognitive revolution, man's ability to act of differentiation, and his ability to transform nature. Despite this, the researcher goes to the meaning of Charles Darwin's teaching "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" (1872) to develop the concept of "pathosformel" (pathosformel) of Aby Warburg. After all, Brellekamp concludes images of nature continue human images, not oppose them. The second of the analyzed works, "Leviathan: Body politic as visual strategy in the work of Thomas Hobbes" (2020), is built around the analysis of the frontispiece to Hobbes's treatise "Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil" (1651). Bredekamp constructs research by involving an impressive source complex, thus demonstrating that a work of art is both an actor involved in society. Combining the analysis of these two works in one text makes it possible to see how Bredekamp's theory can be applied to the specific source material. 






Historiography and Theory of Art

How to Cite

On image agency. (2023). TEXT AND IMAGE: ESSENTIAL PROBLEMS IN ART HISTORY, 1(15), 135–142. https://doi.org/10.17721/2519-4801.2023.1.10