"Life is Movement": Vernon Lee and Sculpture

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

How do living, breathing human bodies respond to the inert bodies of sculpture? This article examines some of the art-theoretical and psychological writings of Violet Paget (‘Vernon Lee’) and Clementina Anstruther-Thomson of the 1880s and 1890s in an attempt to map the evolution of their formalist art criticism. Engaging with the eighteenth-century ghosts of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Lee and Anstruther-Thomson created their very own exploration of art forms evolving in space and in time. Questioning how our reading of literature affects our reading of sculpture, and observing their own mental and physical responses to the encounter with three-dimensional artworks, their binocular gaze and critical collaboration resulted in innovative theories of empathy and intermediality. This article traces their discussions of the interrelationship between literature and sculpture from Lee’s early essays in Belcaro: Being Essays on Sundry Aesthetical Questions (1881) to the late collaborative volume Art and Man (1924).
Original languageEnglish
JournalWord & Image
Volume34
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
ISSN0266-6286
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018

ID: 191585400