Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 27

I neither like it nor respect it, although everyone has decided to honor it, as if at a fixed price, with particular

favor. They clothe wisdom, virtue, conscience with it; a stupid and monstrous ornament! The Italians, more appropriately, have baptized malignancy with its name. For it is always a harmful quality, always insane; and, as being always cowardly and base, the Stoics forbid their sages to feel it. Michel de Montaigne, Of sadness, 15801

Pino Blasone

Philosophical Imagery and Philosophy Moods


1 Gaspard Dughet, Landscape with St. Augustine and the Mystery: Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome; 1651-53

A Cosmic Wonderment

1 Donald M. Frame (edited and translated by), The Complete Essays of Montaigne, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1958; p. 6. Indeed, there is a little confusion or a tacit play on words, by the French author: in Italian, the adjective triste (sad) sounds like tristo (malignant). 2 Cf. Hagi Kenaan and Ilit Ferber (edited by), Philosophys Moods: The Affective Grounds of Thinking, New York: Springer, 2011.

Broadly speaking and to a certain extent, this essay is made of excursions into Continental philosophy, art and literatures, with special reference to a relationship between philosophical imagery and philosophy moods. Reliably wonder, melancholy, boredom and other feelings, were by no means extraneous to rational reflection. Nay, it is a plausible guess that European philosophy could not even be born and grow up without a contribution from an affective background like that. What has also been called an epistemology of moods3, but it seems no less reasonable to suppose that a philosophical imagination often worked as an interface between those diffuse feelings and an extraordinary rational reflection. Yet let us listen to some ancient Greek thinkers, about such a primigenial feeling as a cosmic wonderment in front of the world. In his dialogue Theaetetus, Plato makes the character of his teacher Socrates say: Wonder is the feeling [pthos] of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. He was not a bad genealogist who said that Iris is the child of Thaumas.4 This last sentence is an etymological play on words, referred to a myth of the winged goddess Iris as a personification of the rainbow, and as a hopeful messenger of the gods to human beings. In Hesiods poem Theogony, she had been told to be daughter to the sea deity Thaumas: a Titan, whose name should actually signify the wondrous one. In his treatise on Metaphysics referring to the earliest philosophers, Aristotle will specify that it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and of the stars, and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant (whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of Wisdom, for the myth is composed of wonders). 5 Aristotles annotation about ignorance is an allusion to a famous Socratic maxim, I know that I do not know. It is also to notice, in Aristotles opinion not only cosmology and mythology, science and humanities
3 Cf. Stanley Cavell, Thinking of Emerson and An Emerson Mood, in his The Senses of Walden, San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981; and Stephen Mulhall, Can There be an Epistemology of Moods?, in Verstehen and Humane Understanding, edited by Anthony OHear, Cambridge, U. K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Evidently the theorization of an epistemology of moods has been referred particularly to the 19th century North-American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, but with no less reason it seems extensible to other thinkers. 4 Plato, Theaetetus, 155d; trans. Benjamin Jowett. 5 Aristotle, Metaphysics, 982b; in The Works of Aristotle, trans. William David Ross, vol. 8, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908 and 1928.

together, are worthy of being associated with wonderment, but even more obvious details which might have been susceptible to raise any question: t prcheira tn atpn (those are, in the above translation, the obvious difficulties). Evidently, the range of a human wondering according to Aristotle is wider than that considered by his teacher Plato. This does not mean that Aristotles consideration is deeper or, better to say, higher. Surely Platos conception is more imaginative, as we can deduce from an anecdote narrated in the same Theaetetus, concerning the natural philosopher and astronomer Thales of Miletus. There again, Plato makes Socrates discuss with others some defects popularly attributed to philosophers and first scientists, mainly their abstraction from common life. About, he recounts or, better, he adapts to the circumstance this Aesopic apologue: I will illustrate my meaning, Theodorus, by the jest which the clever witty Thracian handmaid is said to have made about Thales, when he fell into a well as he was looking up at the stars. She said, that he was so eager to know what was going on in heaven, that he could not see what was before his feet. This is a jest which is equally applicable to all philosophers. For the philosopher is wholly unacquainted with his next-door neighbour; he is ignorant, not only of what he is doing, but he hardly knows whether he is a man or an animal; he is searching into the essence of man, and busy in enquiring what belongs to such a nature to do or suffer different from any other.6 Here we do not care so much about the defects of philosophers, as rather of a natural setting of the scene and of which feeling induced the proto-philosopher Thales into his laughable mishap. No doubt, that was a sense of cosmic wonderment. Despite the jest which the clever witty Thracian handmaid [...] made about Thales, that is part of the essence of man Socrates will evoke soon afterwards. He himself had turned his attention from looking up at the stars to searching into the essence of man and enquiring what belongs to such a nature to do or suffer different from any other. The Socratic thinking revolution was from a nature out of men to one inside them. Indeed, already the Pythagorean thinkers had intuited that it was the same specular nature.
6 Plato, Theaetetus, 174a-b; trans. B. Jowett, in The Dialogues of Plato, vol. 4: Oxford University Press, 1892. Indeed, the expression the essence of man is a fine translation by Jowett, which may sound a bit forced though. In the original text, more essentially we read: , what man is. Cf. Sophocles in the tragedy Antigone, lines 377-416, where the Chorus of Elders had striven to answer the same question, in a dramatic way. Not much later, a parody can be found in the comedy The Clouds by Aristophanes, where the main character is Socrates himself, evidently in his earliest version as a natural philosopher and a sophist.

The Platonic tale about Thales was projected back to the dawn of philosophical speculation, probably reflecting an usage of ancient astronomers to let themselves down into ditches, there waiting for better observing a spot in the firmament. In the Middle Ages, we meet with a like story cast back to the twilight of Antiquity. This time, we have the philosopher and theologian St. Augustine instead of Thales; an angel child assumes the provocative role of the Thracian handmaid; the scenery is a daylight seascape with beach, rather than a landscape under a starry vault. The anecdote by unknown author was reported in 1483 by William Caxton, as an insertion in his English paraphrase of The Golden Legend compiled by Jacobus de Voragine.7 For certain it is older, and was well resumed by the traveller George Dennis in The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria , first issued at London in 1848: The holy man, as he once strayed along this shore, was pondering on the mysteries of the Trinity, and doubts, suggested by the evil powers whose attacks he deplores in his Confessions, were arising in his mind, when, on reaching this spot, he beheld a child busied in filling with water a small hole in the sand. Augustine asked what he was about. Trying to put the sea into this hole, replied the criatura. Impossible, cried the saint, laughing at the boys simplicity. Most easy this, said the other, who now stood confessed an angel, than for thee to comprehend those sublime mysteries thou art vainly seeking to penetrate. 8 Despite its natural setting, in this parable the primigenial philosophical wonderment has become theological rather than natural. The essence of divinity prevails over the essence of man, as the main interest in the speech. Nay, the moral of the fable is that not only the former cannot be reduced to the latter, but it cannot even be fully comprehended by the latter. Above all and, in part, consequently, not only every research about but profane ones too, concerning the nature of the world or of the man, had been condemned as vain
7 W. Caxton wrote that he had admired the miraculous scene, painted on an altar of St. Austin at Antwerp. Probably such a subject derived from an oral exemplum adopted by preachers in the late Middle Ages, and was in part inspired by an apocryphal epistle of Augustine to Cyril of Jerusalem. Actually, it became frequent in the religious iconography during some centuries. According to Caxton, the episode had happened at a seaside of North-Africa, where Augustine was from. Cf. P. Blasone, Thinkers in a Landscape: A Philosophical Anecdotage, at the Web address http://www.scribd.com/pinoblasone/d/16420824-Thinkers-in-a-Landscape. 8 G. Dennis, The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria: Cambridge University Press, 2010; p. 391. A British archaeologist and diplomat, the author reported the apologue with reference to the Tower of Bertaldo, at the mouth of the river Mignone near Civitavecchia: a site more commonly called Sant Agostino, from a legend of that saint. Most probably Dennis allusion is specific to the hermitage of SantAgostino alla Fontanella, today a church where a modern Latin inscription on a plaque reminds of a local tradition, according to which the episode happened in that place.

curiosities in the Middle Ages. Such being the premises, any world wonderment could be but ecstatic contemplation of the creation, at most. It is also true, what we may define as a philosophical imagination is sometimes so strong, as to overcome religious restrictions, without exceeding the ambit of religiosity though. That is the case of a third anecdote, which is a passage from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James. There, the protagonist is neither the philosopher Thales nor St. Augustine, but St. Joseph. The main element of the country landscape returns to be a starry heaven. Instead of a well or a pit, or else of a hole in the sand, a presupposed ingredient of the narrative is a cave, which we may interpret as the image of a natural unconscious. In that grotto, neither a servant maid jokes nor an angel child plays, but Jesus the Christ is just born. All of a sudden, the natural converts into the supernatural, for the sacred or the divine has made its irruption into this world. That is what some scholars have called cosmic suspension, or a caesura between an epoch on the wane and the inception of a new one, within our minds at least. Joseph himself so recollects: And I Joseph was walking, and was not walking; and I looked up into the sky, and saw the sky astonished; and I looked up to the pole of the heavens, and saw it standing, and the birds of the air keeping still. And I looked down upon the earth, and saw a trough lying, and work-people reclining: and their hands were in the trough. And those that were eating did not eat, and those that were rising did not carry it up, and those that were conveying anything to their mouths did not convey it; but the faces of all were looking upwards. And I saw the sheep walking, and the sheep stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the current of the river, and I saw the mouths of the kids resting on the water and not drinking, and all things in a moment were driven from their course.9 Long before the invention of cinema, undoubtedly this is something resembling a stop of image. It happened inside the conscience of the narrating subject or, better, of the unknown author and was so impressive that his wondrous time grew the narrated object. Of course, the Protoevangelium of James is not a philosophical
9 Protoevangelium of James, chapter 18, translated by Alexander Walker, in Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8: edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886); revised for New Advent by Kevin Knight, at the web address http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm. Written in Greek probably about the half of the 2nd century, this apocryphal gospel influenced a Christian imagery anyway. Cf. Giorgio Agamben, Fable and History: Considerations on the Nativity Crib, in Infancy and History: Essays on the Destruction of Experience, trans. Liz Heron, London and New York: Verso, 1993.

text, yet some gnostic quality made it anticipate the subjective perception of time according to Augustine of Hippo. Thus, emotions and imagery dig the ground for rational reflection.

2 Salvator Rosa, Democritus in Meditation: Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; ca. 1650

Melancholy, as a Philosophical Mood We might even wonder whether the Greek Thales of Plato/Socrates, the Latin Augustine of William Caxton and the Jewish Joseph in the Protoevangelium of James are different characters, or rather metamorphoses of one astronomer-theologian-philosopher. For certain, their Mediterranean setting and lost atmosphere is just the same, where the so called Continental philosophy was born and grew up. Maybe some of us, once in the life, would be tempted to go there somewhere in a philosophical pilgrimage like the Romantic George Dennis, not so much attempting to understand those sublime mysteries we were vainly seeking to penetrate, as rather with a half hope to meet with Thales maiden or 6

Augustines angel, who could suggest an alternative way of life here and now. Unfortunately we have no more news of that girl, except for Diogenes Laertius, who tells of an old servant maid in his variant of the same anecdote. 10 As to that angel child, in the history of European culture he will grow up as the Angel of Melancholy by Albrecht Drer or the Melancholic Angel by Walter Benjamin. Before getting acquainted with such modern allegories, we had better search again into the works of ancient thinkers, to discover if they had already an idea of what melancholy is and of its possible involvement in developing philosophy. Actually, in Aristotles works wonderment is not the sole philosophical mood. To be honest, we have to say that the Problemata are suspected to be a PseudoAristotelian text. Probably, it was written in a medical learned Aristotelian milieu. At any rate, in the book XXX, 1, we can read: Why is it that all those who have become eminent in philosophy or politics or poetry or the arts are clearly of an atrabilious temperament, and some of them to such an extent as to be affected by diseases caused by black bile [...]? And many [...] of the heroes seem to have been similarly afflicted, and among men of recent times Empedocles, Plato, and Socrates.11 Notoriously Empedocles, Plato and Socrates, were all philosophers. And, in a medical jargon, atrabilious is the same as melancholic, since it was a diffuse credence that melancholy was a lack of balance due to an excess of black bile (mlas khol, in Greek; atra bilis, in Latin). In the Problemata, melancholy begins to be perceived as a peculiar temper rather than a psychosomatic malaise, and it is to notice that generically such a disposition is attributed to exceptional personalities, especially of philosophers. If the text may be really ascribed to a teaching by Aristotle, in part at least, then we can argue that a capability of wondering and a melancholy temperament were both considered consistent with a philosophical aptitude, in a mutual and dialectic relation. Was philosophy the outcome of an alternation between those different feelings? Is that a rational synthesis, or a changeable world-view determined by the moods of individuals and times? In order to answer such idle questions, a further anecdote may work as a little hint. That is the content of a few pseudepigraphal letters of the renowned physician Hippocrates concerning his legendary meeting with the natural philosopher Democritus. The PseudoHippocrates recounts that he had been invited by the inhabitants of Abdera, fellow-citizens
10 Diogenes Laertius, Life of Thales, in The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosopers, ch. VIII. 11 Aristotle, Problemata, XXX 1; in The Works of Aristotle, trans. W. D. Ross and J. A. Smith, vol. 7, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910.

of the thinker, as worried because of his mental health. In fact, Democritus lived an eccentric life separated from the rest of the town and lately, when he had to deal with his fellow-citizens, he was affected by laughing fits, with no apparent motivations. At first, such an alternation of private pensiveness and public hilarity will make the physician guess the diagnosis of a melancholic syndrome. Particularly in the second letter to Damagetus, Hippocrates relates on his visit to Democritus, and his surprise in finding him busy in the dissection of some animal corpses. Asked about, the philosopher replies that he is investigating the causes of melancholy, what is a probable jest referred to the medical theory on a physical origin of melancholy itself, as an excess of black bile. Afterwards, Democritus explains that his uncontrollable bursts of laughter are caused by the view of his fellowcitizens so engaged in what they deem to be practical and necessary occupations, whereas a philosopher can clearly see how much most of those are vain games. At last, Hippocrates gets so persuaded of the sanity of Democritus, as to feel fully converted to his philosophy. This controversial apologue reminds of what we could already discern in that of Thales: also a rational science was born in the same fabulous environment, with the same complex affective background. At the beginning the so called natural philosophy was nothing but a daughter to philosophy, nay we can suppose that it was the first kind of philosophy itself. Early it got clear that such a science was able to investigate secondary causes and to resolve a few problems or difficulties. Unfortunately it was not or not yet?! able to trace back to primary causes either of the universe or of human activity on earth, so much that new philosophical fields as metaphysics and ethics were opened. Reliably, the melancholy attributed to Democritus was rooted in a mixture of disillusion and surrounding incomprehension (the common sense of the Abderites was not so different from that of the Thracian handmaid, character we have seen invented by Plato). The melancholic meeting between Democritus and Hippocrates, narrated by an unknown Cynic or Stoic thinker, was an early metaphorical example of confrontation between philosophy and science. Past the long lasting religious and theological parenthesis of the Middle Ages, when scientific curiosities had been mostly banned, melancholy returned to be an elitarian feeling and a fashionable topic. Not by chance, the above Epistle of Hippocrates to Damagetus was the main declared source for the treatise The Anatomy of Melancholy by the English scholar

Robert Burton, who in 1621 was even pleased to adopt the pen-name Democritus Junior. 12 Do you remember Aristotle or the Pseudo-Aristotle, according to whom easily the artists and the poets share with philosophers a propensity to melancholy? The PseudoHippocratic Second Epistle to Damagetus, or his paraphrase in the book by Burton, worked also as an inspiration for some painters as eminently the Neapolitan Salvator Rosa, in his canvas Democritus in Meditation (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; circa 1650).13 In this masterpiece, macabre details and decaying ruins associate it with a pictorial genre then widely diffused and dubbed Vanitas, with a biblical allusion to the precariousness of mundane things. At those times, the contextual trust in a cosmic order was tottering: an infinite, or indefinite, perception was going to replace that of a circumscribed and concentric universe. And, after the Protestant Reformation, even the religious faith had become controversial, what might have been a motive more for an epochal, early modern melancholy. In Germany, the original country of that event, other painters had begun to represent such a mood as a personal winged allegory. First Drer executed his celebrated engraving Melencolia I in 1514 (Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe). Yet similar allegories, later painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder, are more directly and explicitly connected with the traumatic consequences of the reformation, which had started in 1517. If Drers Melencolia is a fallen angel, Cranachs one rather looks a seductive and malignant witch. 14 We have to wait for a few centuries more, before meeting with Cranachs witch and Drers angel anew. Unwinged and naked, the former is portrayed in a painting by the German Expressionist Otto Dix titled Melancholie (Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart; 1930). With one arm and hand, she holds up a dummy whose face we cannot see, for he is turned toward a window as if forced to look through it, at the grim dazzle of a fire. In 1933 the Nazi tyranny will rise into power in Germany. Artists, intellectuals and many others will be persecuted, Dix included. As to the melancholy angel, we may find him in a drawing by
12 Cf. Jean Starobinski, introduction to R. Buton, Anatomie de la melancolie, trans. Bernard Hoepffner and Catherine Goffaux, 3 voll., Paris: J. Corti, 2000; and Histoire du traitement de la mlancolie, des origines 1900, vol. 4 of Acta psychosomatica, Basel: J. R. Geigy, 1960. 13 In 1662, S. Rosa printed an etching with the same subject and title, but with a few variants; amid them, a Latin inscription is echoing a biblical theme: Democritus omnium derisor in omnium fine defigitur, Here it is contemplated Democritus, the mocker of everything, in the midst of the ending of all things (The British Museum, London). 14 L. Cranach the Elder, Melancholy: Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (1532); and La Mlancolie: Muse dUnterlinden, Colmar, France (1532).

Paul Klee (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; 1920). Indeed, this Angelus Novus is different from the magnificent one engraved by Drer. He looks childish and with an astonished expression, yet will become illustrious as described in 1940 by the thinker Walter Benjamin, in his ninth thesis On the Philosophy of History: an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned towards the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. 15

15 W. Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, translated by Harry Zohn in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, edited by Hannah Arendt, New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1968; pages 259-60. Cf. G. Agamben, The Melancholy Angel, in The Man Without Content, trans. Georgia Albert: Stanford University Press, 1994; and Melencolia I, in Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture, trans. Ronald L. Martinez, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Cf. also Ilit Ferber, Melancholy Philosophy: Freud and Benjamin, at the Web address http://erea.revues.org/413.


3 Albrecht Drer, Melencolia I: Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany; 1514 (in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance iconography, somewhat paradoxically the pattern of a winged personified allegory moved from Hope to Melancholy)

An Existential Boredom No doubt, the visionary pessimism of Benjamin and his consequent reversed, apocalyptic messianism were something worse than what we are used to mean as melancholy. Unluckily, he had realistic reasons both on a collective and on a personal level. His Theses on the Philosophy of History were conceived during the Second World War. In the same year when those were written, their Jewish author perished in Spain, while trying to escape from the lethal Nazi persecution. Further, we will return on the ambiguity of melancholy be it an angel or a witch, or else both of them at once , and on its easyuneasy degenerations. Yet now it is time to turn page and to examine another possible philosophical feeling, more relevant with peaceful days. Such a mood is boredom. Already in ancient times Latin poets as Lucretius and Horace, or the philosopher Seneca, wrote in 11

their works about a taedium vitae, tedium of life. But in our case a better reference is to an early modern thinker, and scientist too. In his Penses, the French Blaise Pascal stated his high opinion of man, which was a virtual one though: Man is obviously made for thinking. Therein lies all his dignity and his merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought. Now the order of thought is to begin with ourselves, and with our author and our end....16 What does often prevent a man from being realized as homo cogitans, a real thinking person? According to Pascal, that is the even occasional boredom of an inactive life. In fact, boredom lets him think of his own death, or of an impending end of all what is dear to him. Nobody can refrain from thinking that, once at least, but this is enough for ever. And this kind of melancholy is so intolerable, as to make him wish to divert himself from thinking at all. For Pascal, like for Democritus in the above letter of the Pseudo-Hippocrates to Damagetus, a lot of human actions make no actual sense in spite of any appearance to the contrary, or pretension of necessity , but an attempt at distraction from that more or less conscious thought and fear. Of course, such should have been the ennui and melancholy of Pascal himself, even if he is presumed to have courage enough and religious faith , as not only to face the situation but also to profit by his consciousness in order to develop his own philosophy. What we may comment is that his bored melancholy recalls a biblical sense of Vanity of Vanities, which we may admire illustrated by so many painters of his age, Salvator Rosa first included. It is also true, that feeling resembles an existential anguish so much, as to make him a forerunner of the Existentialism. No wonder: philosophy is a slow activity of mind, not seldom returning on the same concepts with frequent contradictions, yet every little difference may be a new light in relation to the darkness of the uncanny. Between melancholy and anguish, as well as between melancholy and boredom, there are meaningful differences but also a conventional affinity, to such an extent that either of them can be considered derived from a melancholic mood or even the degeneration of a melancholic disposition. In the first half of the 19 th century, respectively anguish and boredom were investigated as existential phenomena by the Danish philosopher and theologian Sren Kierkegaard, and by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. An
16 B. Pascal, Penses (Thoughts; issued posthumous in 1670), translated and edited by Alban J. Krailsheimer, New York: Penguin Books, 1966; no. 620/146, p. 235. Cf. Lars Svendsen, A Philosophy of Boredom, trans. John Irons, London: Reaktion Books, 2005; and Peter Toohey, Boredom: A Lively History, London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.


Italian poet and thinker too, Giacomo Leopardi, dealt with boredom especially in his Zibaldone di pensieri (Miscellany of Thoughts), following in the footsteps of Pascal albeit in a more secular way. Generally referring to a disenchanted vision of the world, when Hegels idealistic historicism was the dominant philosophy, Schopenhauer himself wrote in his treatise The World as Will and Representation: No one has treated this subject so thoroughly and exhaustively as Leopardi in our own day [] with such a wealth of imagery, that he never wearies us, but, on the contrary, has a diverting and stimulating effect.17 We can well suppose, Leopardis imagery influenced, in part, Schopenhauers thought. Yet it was the form of expression of a philosophical reflection by Leopardi too, despite his own disconsolate scepticism about: In some way, boredom is the most sublime of human feelings. But I do not believe the examination of such a mood to be able to generate those consequences, which many philosophers believed can be deduced from.... In what a sense, then, is boredom a sublime feeling? Leopardi goes on with his argumentation, bursting into a Romantic cosmic horizon: Nevertheless, an impossibility of being satisfied either with any earthly thing or, just to say so, with the whole earth; the consideration of the inestimable vastness of the space, or of the wonderful number and dimension of the worlds, and the remark that all those are little entities if compared with the potentiality of our minds; the imagination of that endless amount of worlds and of an infinite universe, and the feeling that our souls and desires might even be greater than such an universe; and the consequent unceasing accusation against an insufficiency or nullity of the things, and the suffering of a missing or emptiness, and hence a sense of boredom: that all seems to me the most visible sign of greatness and loftiness in the human nature itself. 18 Let us compare with the above fable of St. Augustine on the shore, in front of the enormous expanse of sea, and with the remark advanced by the angel child about an insufficiency of
17 A. Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E. F. J. Payne, North Chelmsford, MA: Courier Dover Publications, 1966, vol. 2, ch. XLVI (On the Vanity and Suffering of Life); p. 588. 18 G. Leopardi, Pensieri, LXVIII. Cf. other English translations: Thoughts, by J. G. Nichols, London: Hesperus Press, 2002; or Pensieri, trans. W. S. Di Piero, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981; or else in Essays, Dialogues and Thoughts, trans. James Thomson, London: Routledge, 1905. Issued posthumous in 1845, the work titled Pensieri is a late selection and incomplete development from the materials for the Zibaldone, which had been written discontinuously from 1817 to 1832 and will be published in 1898 and 1937. The original Italian title of the Zibaldone di pensieri (Miscellany of Thoughts) was Pensieri di varia filosofia e bella letteratura, that is approximately Various Thoughts on Philosophy and Literature.


human mind in comprehending the mysteries of godhead as well as of the create. Here the situation is entirely inverted. Moreover, boredom has replaced any old sense of wonder. Sterile and sublime as it was at the same time, indeed Leopardis boredom is not less ambivalent than melancholy from which it was presumably born. And, after all, the atheist Leopardi is still tuned on the same wavelength as the religious Pascal. Surely both of them would have shared Leopardis assertion in the Zibaldone, according to which Men abhor boredom for the same reason for which they hate death, that is non-existence. The Italian poet and writer shares also Pascals paradoxical idea that men are induced not only to frivolous activities but even to great deeds, or sometimes insensate ones in which they challenge and inflict death, by their attempt at escaping from a deadly boredom. In Leopardis Dialogue between Columbus and Pietro Gutierrez, included in the collection Operette morali (Small Moral Works), such an idea goes as far as to ironically imagine that the first cause and real motive of the discovery of America was Christopher Columbus private tedium of life. There between the lines, a parody of the philosophical Idealism attains its acme, as well as that of the Enlightenment had attained its own in the grotesque tales of the German E. T. A. Hoffmann. Romanticism itself reveals the complexity of a dialectic phenomenon, where literary imagination cannot be disjoint from critical reflection: without its cultural context, a history of European philosophy would make an odd sense. Actually the Dialogue between C. Columbus and Pietro Gutierrez is a philosophical work, in its form not so different from the ancient Platonic ones, at least from those containing a certain amount of wealth of imagery inside. What the officer Gutierrez is imagined to confidentially object, to his admiral Columbus during their discovery navigation, is that you have risked your own life, and the lives of your companions, on behalf of a mere possibility. And Columbus long reply, which we here report only in part, is very strange: I cannot deny it. But, apart from the fact that men daily endanger their lives for much frailer reasons, and far more trifling things, or even without thinking at all, pray consider a moment. If you, and I, and all of us were not now here in this ship, in the middle of this ocean, in this strange solitude, uncertain and hazardous though it be, what should we be doing? How should we be occupied? How should we be spending our time? More joyfully perhaps? More probably, in greater trouble and difficulty; or worse, in a state of


ennui?.19 According to Pascal, Schopenhauer and Leopardi, boredom is the worst of human condition, even worse than melancholy or anguish: in this case, the common anxiety of seeing not yet earth at the horizon. However, the dialogue is just interrupted by the signals of that approaching destination. Is there, in boredom, a casual and oblique providence?

4 Lucas Cranach the Elder, La Mlancolie: Muse dUnterlinden, Colmar, France; 1532 (this feminine allegory is dark winged, and she is sharpening a toy-stick, by which the putti in the background might transfix each other!)

Looking for a Principle of Hope At this point, we can sum up again the whole anecdotage, in a sort of fabulous temporal order. The Thales of Plato, the Democritus of the Pseudo-Hippocrates, St. Joseph
19 G. Leopardi, Dialogue between Christopher Columbus and Pietro Gutierrez, in Essays and Dialogues of Giacomo Leopardi, trans. Charles Edwardes, London: Trubner, 1882 (originally included in the collection of proses Operette morali, published between 1827 and 1825); p. 141.


of the Protoevangelium of James, St. Augustine of William Caxton, the Columbus of Leopardi: they are all characters who might be considered the same musing type, be he an astronomer or a philosopher, a saint or a theologian, or else an explorer and navigator. What they have in common is also a real or virtual interlocutor: the handmaid for Thales, Hippocrates himself for Democritus, a Baby Jesus in the background for Joseph, the angel child for Augustine, Gutierrez for Columbus. They all can dispose of a spacious setting for their stories, as the scenery of a landscape, a starry sky or heaven, a seascape or even the ocean. Only in the case of the Angelus Novus by Paul Klee and Walter Benjamin, his setting is the time of history, and he has no longer an interlocutor. It is an anomalous figure of what Sigmund Freud, in a well known essay written during the First World War but issued later, had defined as Mourning and Melancholia, even if for sure the father of psychoanalysis had no intention to analyse a transcendental creature. During the Second World War, at the same time that angel is mourning for so many dead he would like to awaken and melancholic for a reason he cannot well understand, as if there was something wrong in his traditional announcing task or rather in the reception of his messianic annunciation. Got suspicious on the future, this Angel of History is staring at the failure of a progressive history itself. Would it have been better to stop such an involute modernity? Was it possible and sensible doing that?20 Unfortunately or not, obviously Benjamins allegorical angel could not stop what he himself had contributed to start. Forced by the circumstances, the individual Benjamin was left no other way of escape but putting an end to his own life on earth. Among his fellow-thinkers and survived friends, particularly Ernst Bloch kept on thinking not only in a critical way but also in accordance with his maxim thinking means venturing beyond. More and more he specialized in the topic of a feeling here not yet focused on, but which the proto-philosopher Thales was told to have esteemed as the most universal of human possessions, and which we may well consider an original philosophical pthos along with cosmic wonderment. Not by chance, Blochs most important treatise is titled The Principle of Hope. Nowhere else, we can find a better praise of this, which is felt as a constitutive element both of humanity and humanness, as well as a basic principle and recurrent beginning at once: It is a question of learning hope. Its work does not renounce, it
20 Cf. Rebecca Comay, Benjamins Endgame, in Walter Benjamins Philosophy: Destruction and Experience, edited by Andrew Benjamin and Peter Osborne, London: Routledge, 1994 (and Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2000).


is in love with success rather than failure. Hope, superior to fear, is neither passive like the latter, nor locked into nothingness. The emotion of hope goes out of itself, makes people broad instead of confining them... [...] Hope stands also as one of the most exact emotions above every mood [...] capable of logical and concrete correction and sharpening.21 Anyhow, already in his first work The Spirit of Utopia Bloch had expressed an original conception of the personal unconscious, somewhat different from the better known Freudian one, even though in some way akin to the conception of Carl Gustav Jung. The latter is what Bloch himself calls no-longer-conscious, whereas the former is the not-yetconscious, and a not-yet-being at the same time. It is a task of an analytical memory and conscience mainly turned to the past to discover the former afresh, what is especially important from a psychological and individual point of view. On the contrary, the latter is to be perceived thanks to a special intuition later defined as an anticipatory consciousness by our author and is far more important from a philosophical and collective angle. Of course, both spirit of utopia and principle of hope deal with the not-yet-conscious rather than with the no-longer-conscious. But it is also to specify that the not-yetconscious and the no-longer-conscious are two sides of one coin, which is the primary source of the becoming as much as of a future to be realized. In a few words, that is a free potentiality and a creative unconscious: Freilich entzndet sich dieses Hoffen und, woran es deutlicher wird, das Staunen oft vllig beliebig, ja unangemessen, ja vielleicht... [] Es ist ein Fragen an sich, ein innerstes tiefstes Erstaunen (Hope lights up and, when its light is brighter, not seldom a sense of wonder overcomes, even fortuitous and so arbitrary... [] Actually it is a questioning in itself: an absolute, inner and profound wonderment).22
21 E. Bloch, The Principle of Hope , vol. 1, trans. N. Plaice, S. Plaice and P. Knight; Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995 (from Das Prinzip der Hoffnung, vol. 1, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1959); pp. 3 and 112. In the same book, p. 334, the author evokes Andrea Pisanos angelified allegory of Hope, such as represented in 1336 on a door of the Florence Baptistery. Not by chance, his interpretation of this relief is not so negative as that given by Benjamin: While seated, helplessly she stretches her arms toward a fruit beyond her reach though she is winged, and nothing looks truer (W. Benjamin, Einbahnstrae, One Way Street, in Gesammelte Scriften, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 197299; IV 1, p. 125). Indeed a comparison with a similar precedent, the Spes depicted by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel at Padua, suggests that the not well identifiable object in the right upper corner of the image is not a fruit but a crown. 22 E. Bloch, Geist der Utopie, zweite Fassung von 1923; Frankfurt am Main (currently, Berlin): Suhrkamp, 2000; p. 243. Cf. The Spirit of Utopia, trans. Anthony A. Nassar, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000. As to his complex relation with a Freudian metapsychology, in an interview released on September 1, 1974, Bloch himself stated: A day dream does not prelude to night dreams, such as according to Freud. [] It does not refer to a no longer, as in


Then, wonder is strictly connected not only with a cognitive or vain curiosity, as it had been variously understood in the past, but even with a principle of hope. In a more specific manner, Ernst Bloch will return on this topic in the essay Wonder included in his collection of various writings titled Traces , which is one of the subtlest pieces of metaphysical philosophy in the 20th century, although its is a metaphysics of immanence: since Plato, wonder has been for them [the philosophers] a done deal, or the beginning. [...] It was especially hard to hear in wonder not only the questions but also the language of an answer, a resonating self-wonder, this seething final state within things. Yet the beginning could never quite be expelled from philosophy. Thus, that philosophical questioning ought to have been the reflection of a wondering natural unconscious. What a kind of questions, and is it not there any type of danger, for the questioning subject? Bloch does not think so different from Pascal about, but with more optimism and with no resort to any traditional religious faith: Does not the question of simple wonder likewise lead into this nothing where it hopes to find its everything? With a shock at how dark and uncertain the ground of the world is, with the hope that just for this reason everything can still be otherwise, be so much our own being that no question is still needed, but instead the question is completely posed in this wonder and ultimately becomes happiness, an existence like happiness. 23 As to the specific question Bloch reliably had in mind, indeed it is not so simple as the primordial and recurring wonder by which should have been generated. In 1714, such a radical metaphysical question had been so formulated by Gottfried W. Leibniz in his Principes de la nature et de la grce fonds en raison (Principles of Nature and Grace Based on Reason, chapter 7): Pourquoi il y a plutt quelque chose que rien? Car le rien est plus simple et plus facile que quelque chose. De plus, suppos que des choses doivent exister, il faut quon puisse rendre raison pourquoi elles doivent exister ainsi, et non autrement, Why is there something rather than nothing? After all, nothing is simpler and easier than something. Also, given that things have to exist, we must be able to give a
the Freudian unconscious: rather to a not yet, what has its own being though, and thus may be also called not yet being. Actually, the not yet conscious being and the not yet become appear into the world as a tendency to something which there is not yet, but as a tendency in itself (in E. Bloch, Tendenz Latenz Utopie, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1978; pp. 380-391; our italics). 23 E. Bloch, Traces, trans. Anthony A. Nassar, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006 (from Spuren, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1969); p. 170. Cf. P. Blasone, Stupor Mundi: The Pathos of Philosophers, at the Web address http://www.scribd.com/pinoblasone/d/42468642-Stupor-Mundi-The-Pathos-of-Philosophers.


reason why they have to exist as they are and not otherwise. 24 It is evident, in reality this emblematic and enigmatic question is a double query; in an explicit interrogative form, the second part would sound: Why have the things to exist as they are, and not otherwise? If Blochs attention was stressed on this latter query above all, another eminent and controversial German philosopher of the 20th century rather focused on the first part of the same question, making it closely associated with a feeling of despair and boredom. But let Martin Heidegger himself speak about, in his Introduction to Metaphysics: Why are there beings at all instead of nothing? That is the question. Presumably it is not arbitrary question [...] this is obviously the first of all questions. Of course it is not the first question in the chronological sense [...] And yet, we are each touched once, maybe even every now and then, by the concealed power of this question, without properly grasping what is happening to us. In great despair, for example, when all weight tends to dwindle away from things and the sense of things grows dark, the question looms. Perhaps it strikes only once, like the muffled tolling of a bell that resounds into Dasein and gradually fades away. The question is there in heartfelt joy, for then all things are transformed and surround us as if for the first time, as if it were easier to grasp that they were not, rather than that they are, and are as they are. The question is there in a spell of boredom, when we are equally distant from despair and joy, but when the stubborn ordinariness of beings lays open a wasteland in which it makes no difference to us whether beings are or are not and then, in a distinctive form, the question resonates once again: Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?25

24 G. W. Leibniz, Principles of Nature and Grace Based on Reason, trans. Jonathan Bennett, at the Web address http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/leibprin.pdf. 25 M. Heidegger, The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics, in Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000; pp. 1-2. First published in 1953 with the original title Einfhrung in die Metaphysik, this text was born as an academic course in 1935. The philosophical German term Dasein is derived from dasein, which literally means there-being, but we can more commonly translate as existence. Cf. Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001.


5 Otto Dix, Melancholie: Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart; 1930 (let us notice the detail of a skull on the floor, according to the allegorical tradition of the Vanitas pictorial genre)

On a Womanly Side So wavering between wonder and melancholy, or hope and anguish, we have seen how in ancient as in recent times a philosophical mood was often double-sided, with the prevalence of one feeling over the other depending on authors and circumstances. In a medical jargon, generically that of philosophers might be classified as a cyclothymic temper. In reality, it is but a hyperbolic magnifying of the affections emerging inside almost every man or woman, when he or she happens to face the essentials of existence, with no Pascalian possible diversion or distraction and sometimes not even the support or solace of a pre-established religious faith. Anyway, both for a philosopher and for a common person, those circumstances may occur to be extreme and tragic. In the history of philosophy, let us just remember Socrates, Hypatia of Alexandria, Severinus Boethius, 20

Giordano Bruno, Walter Benjamin. Yet this is also the case of Esther Etty Hillesum, a Dutch and Jewish young woman, initiated into Jungian psychology. Born in 1914 and died in the extermination camp of Auschwitz in 1943, she has left her Letters and Diaries. Etty has been said an atypical mystic thinker. It has been also written that hers was a philosophy as way of life, along a psychological and spiritual path. 26 What is relevant here is her frequent, dynamic alternation, between despair and hope. Within the concentration camp of Westerbork, in a letter dated 9 July 1943, she could write these disconcerting words: People live an episodic life here... [...] Yes, really, its true, there are compassionate laws in nature, if only we keep a feeling for their rhythm. I notice that afresh each time in myself: when I am at the limits of despair, unable, I am sure, to go on, suddenly the balance shifts over to the other side, and I can laugh and take life as it comes. After feeling really low for ages, you can suddenly rise so high above earthly misery that you feel lighter and more liberated than ever before in your life. I am now very well again, but for a few days I was quite desperate. Equilibrium is restored time and again. 27 Here, balance and rhythm are key terms and concepts. Step by step, they were able to bring equilibrium back into an episodic life. Despair and hope, scandal and wonder, were opposite extremes of one dialectic. Yet in that equilibrium it persists an ordinary wonderment concerning the nature of things, which not seldom assumes an extraordinary religious form: Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on Your earth, my eyes raised towards Your heaven, tears run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude. 28 Ettys Jungian oriented analysis stops in the notion neither of an individual nor of a collective unconscious. Indeed, it proceeds as far as the intuition of a wider and higher communicating self. That is transparent in what she had annotated, on 17 September 1942, referring to a precept by her Jungian teacher and lover Julius Spier: And that probably best expresses my own love of life: I repose in myself. And that part of myself; that deepest and
26 Cf. Klaas A. D. Smelik, Ria van den Brandt and Meins G. S. Coetsier (edited by), Spirituality in the Writings of Etty Hillesum: Proceedings of the Etty Hillesum Conference at Ghent University, November 2008, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2010. Cf. also, in Italian: Roberta De Monticelli, L'ordine del cuore. Etica e teoria del sentire (The Order of Heart: Ethics and Theory of Feeling; Milan: Garzanti, 2004), where E. Hillesum is compared with other coeval female thinkers as Edith Stein and Simone Weil. 27 E. Hillesum, Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943, edited by K. A. D. Smelik, trans. A. J. Pomerans; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002; p. 622. 28 Ibidem, page 640; 18 August 1943.


richest part in which I repose, is what I call God. 29 Especially if compared with the perception by Ernst Bloch above mentioned, undoubtedly such an implied unconscious possesses a transcendental connotation. However, Ettys undefined religion was not so much a confessional one, as rather the quest and the claim for an open religiosity. As to her striking capability of a renewable astonishment, even at the little things of everyday life and nature, we may well suppose it was also the fruit of a female habit or aptitude. More specific on this plane it will be the analysis of the Franco-Bulgarian thinker Julia Kristeva. Yet its Freudian orientation will make her pay attention to the emotions of mourning or melancholy, with peculiar reference to a female abjection, rather than of wonder or hope. Kristeva applied her criticism and, indirectly, her experience as a psychoanalyst also to a few sensitive male artists of the past, such as the German Hans Holbein the Younger or the Italian Giovanni Bellini, respectively in the treat Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia and in the essay Motherhood According to Giovanni Bellini.30 Whereas Holbeins painting The Corpse of Christ in the Tomb (ffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel; ca. 1521) is particularly studied as an example of reflected mourning, some Bellinis Madonnas with Child are rather regarded as exemplary of a motherly melancholy, introverted by the painter himself. We may comment that they seem to be no less exemplary of mourning, since their expressions and their gazes diverging from their son, as if Mary was afraid to convey her mood to him clearly denote a presentiment of Jesus Passion, in accordance with the Christian sacred history and with a Byzantine iconographic tradition, already before the flourishing of Renaissance art. Yet probably some problem was in Freuds theory of melancholy, as a variant of mourning without full consciousness of the missing object, since its explicit memory has been removed into the unconscious. That gap must be filled with an interpretation, which may be a contingent justification though, if we do not admit a prior ground as the absence in itself, be it even the case of a loss to come. 31
29 Ibidem, page 519. 30 J. Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, trans. Leon S. Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992; and Motherhood According to Giovanni Bellini, in Twentieth Century Theories of Art, edited by James Matheson Thompson, Montreal and Kingston, Canada: McGill-Queens University Press, 1990. In a French feminist philosophy, cf. also Michle Le Doeuff, The Philosophical Imaginary, trans. Colin Gordon, London and New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002 (first published in 1980). 31 Cf. Livio Bottani, La malinconia e il fondamento assente (Melancholy and the Missing Foundation; Milan: Guerini e Associati, 1992); and Malinconoia ed epoch (Melancholy and Epoch; Vercelli, Italy: Edizioni Mercurio, 1995).


Unlike mourning or nostalgia, in its core melancholy seems to need no object, and to fear no other loss but that of the bare self. It is also true, frequently we are searching for objects to feed melancholy, in order to dress it with a more acceptable sense. Sometimes this effort makes us discern intermediate causes, almost like Leopardi imagined boredom to have made Columbus discover a not yet identified land. In its own way, thus melancholy recovers a pulsional function which shares with a few more feelings, that of working as propaedeutic for thinking. Moving from Freudian premises but landing at nearly NeoHegelian consequences, another woman thinker, the North-American Judith Butler, has examined melancholy in a gendered context. Her conclusion is that even sexual identity, as culturally and socially conditioned, may be a melancholic factor of deprivation of the personality.32 Of course, this is no less sound for other types of identitarian inhibition or discrimination. In a larger political horizon, nonetheless Butler warns about the narcissistic preoccupation of melancholia in a collective subject who fell victim to a historical persecution, when that preoccupation may grow a justification for new violences against other communities or individuals. Per absurdum, in this case mourning would be preferable to melancholy, as the former keeps well in mind the original source of ones grief or sorrow, whereas the latter runs a risk to diverge or be diverted from a genuine self-consciousness, susceptible to foster an empathic comprehension and dialectic relations with the others. 33 Last but not least, this survey could appear more incomplete than what it is, if we did not mention an opinion of two male authors as the French Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari in their work What is Philosophy? Once again, there the speech moves from the most traumatic historical event of the latest century, and from its problematic account in the book of essays The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi, an Italian Jewish survivor from the so defined Holocaust. It is worth noticing how Deleuze and Guattari update and generalize their relevant comment: Nor is it only in the extreme situations described by Primo Levi
32 Cf. J. Butler, Melancholy Gender / Refused Identification, in The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997. The author was not new to the consideration of a propaedeutic role of moods in philosophy: cf. also her Kierkegaards Speculative Despair, in The Age of German Idealism, edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen Marie Higgins, London: Routledge, 1993 and 2003; and Thresholds of Melancholy, in The Prism of the Self, edited by Steven Galt Crowell, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1995. 33 Cf. J. Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, London and New York: Verso, 2004. Cf. also, in Italian: Sandra Plastina, Lenigma della malinconia. Identit e rappresentazione della vita psichica in J. Butler, in Fare e disfare. Otto saggi a partire da Judith Butler, edited by Monica Pasquino and S. Plastina, Milan and Udine: Mimesis, 2008.


that we experience the shame of being human. We also experience it in insignificant conditions, before the meanness and vulgarity of existence that haunts democracies, before the propagation of these modes of existence and of thought-for-the-market, and before the values, ideals, and opinions of our time. [] This feeling of shame is one of philosophys most powerful motifs.34 Thus shame, such a peculiar kind of it at least, may well play some indignant role in the topical reflection, and not even a secondary one. According to Deleuze and Guattari, we like also to highlight how this engaged thought is, above all, a reaction to that thought-for-the-market, so often displaying itself as the dominant stream of thinking in our societies. What sounds a call for a revisited moral philosophy, today more than ever.

34 G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, What is Philosophy?, trans. H. Tomlinson and G. Burchell (from Quest-ce que la philosophie?, Paris: Les ditions de Minuit, 1991), London and New York: Verso, 1994; pp. 107-8. Cf. Phil Hutchinson, Shame and Philosophy: An Investigation in the Philosophy of Emotions and Ethics, Basingstoke, U. K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. More empirical, and oriented by the philosophy of mind, is J. A. Deonna, R. Rodogno and F. Teroni, In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. As a philosophical feeling, shame was not a new topic, anyway: in the thought of Gnther Stern/Anders, nay it had assumed an anthropological dimension and a constitutive role; cf. Micaela Latini, Lantropologia eretica di G. Anders, in B@belonline/print no. 5, 2008, Department of Philosophy at the University of Rome III, pp. 97-100 (ed. by M. T. Pansera).


6 Paul Klee, Angelus Novus: Israel Museum, Jerusalem; 1920

More essays by the same author, in English, at the Websites below: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2531940/Space-and-Time-of-the-Annunciation http://www.scribd.com/doc/2681466/The-Cat-and-the-Angel-of-the-Annunciation http://www.scribd.com/doc/2913375/The-Hands-of-Mary-States-of-Mind-in-theAnnunciate http://www.scribd.com/doc/2988387/Hail-Mary-Nazarene-and-PreRaphaeliteAnnunciations http://www.scribd.com/doc/3817130/Women-and-Angels-Female-Annunciations http://www.scribd.com/doc/4597267/Byzantine-Annunciations-An-Iconography-ofIconography http://www.scribd.com/doc/5837944/Marian-Icons-in-Rome-and-Italy http://www.scribd.com/doc/8650381/The-Flight-into-Egypt-A-Transcontinental-Trip http://www.scribd.com/doc/9568413/A-Long-Way-to-Emmaus-Almost-a-Samaritan-


Story http://www.scribd.com/doc/11517241/The-Bodily-Christ http://www.scribd.com/doc/12902607/Magdalenes-Iconography http://www.scribd.com/doc/15057438/Marys-Gaze-in-the-History-of-Art http://www.scribd.com/doc/14136622/Mimesis-in-Ancient-Art http://www.scribd.com/doc/16420824/Thinkers-in-a-Landscape http://www.scribd.com/doc/19582647/Figures-of-Absence-in-the-History-of-Art http://www.scribd.com/doc/24221344/The-Smile-of-the-Sacred http://www.scribd.com/doc/26251175/On-the-Traces-of-Alcestis http://www.scribd.com/doc/28930322/Trains-and-Trams-An-Archaeology-ofModernity http://www.scribd.com/doc/30742254/Eros-and-Psyche-A-Hermeneutic-Circle http://www.scribd.com/doc/32595697/Mirrors-Masks-and-Skulls http://www.scribd.com/doc/35178388/Excursions-into-Female-Portraiture http://www.scribd.com/doc/37125849/Pythagoreanism-An-Early-Italic-Philosophy http://www.scribd.com/doc/42468642/Stupor-Mundi-The-Pathos-of-Philosophers http://www.scribd.com/doc/51101694/Orientalism-Veiled-and-Unveiled http://www.scribd.com/doc/2075273/Italy-through-a-Gothic-Glass http://www.scribd.com/pinoblasone/d/49497627-Orientalism-and-Turkish-Coffee


7 Andrea Pisano, Spes: gold plated bronze relief on the south doors to the Baptistery of Florence; 1336 (in the rear of the angelic figure, let us notice what looks a sarcophagus, on which the angel himself may seem to be seated: as opposite to the beatific crown toward which he or she is rising, reliably that detail concurs to confer on the whole allegory a value of resurrecting hope)

Copyright pinoblasone@yahoo.com 2012


Centres d'intérêt liés