Imaging the Unseen in Enlightenment Art and Medicine
588 pp., 8 x 11 in,
- Published: October 30, 1991
- Published: August 13, 1993
In this erudite and profusely illustrated history of perception, Barbara Stafford explores a remarkable set of body metaphors deriving from both aesthetic and medical practices that were developed during the enlightenment for making visible the unseeable aspects of the world. While she focuses on these metaphors as a reflection of the changing attitudes toward the human body during the period of birth of the modern world, she also presents a strong argument for our need to recognize the occurrence of a profound revolution—a radical shift from a textbased to a visually centered culture. Stafford agues, in fact, that modern societies need to develop innovative, nonlinguistic paradigms and to train a broad public in visual aptitude.
Stafford's book is... full of intriguing, even intoxicating, ideas. For anyone involved with images it opens unexplored avenues of thought, forcing one to question traditional assumptions about both images and text.