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A Phenomenology of Vision: the Self-Portraits of Jean-Étienne Liotard

Author(s): Williams, Hannah

Journal: RIHA Journal
ISSN 2190-3328

Start page: 0034;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Jean-Étienne Liotard | self-portraiture | phenomenology | Maurice Merleau-Ponty | eighteenth century

This essay analyses the self-portraits of Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-1789). Interpreting these objects through the lens of Maurice-Merleau-Ponty's writings on art and vision, I argue that Liotard's self-portraits can be understood as artistic experiments relating to the fundamental phenomenological problem of seeing and representing the lived-body. In making this argument this essay re-evaluates the art-historical tendency to read Liotard's self-portraits biographically as pictures of his unusual life or as tools of self-promotion.
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