Shadow Essay

718 Words3 Pages
Engagements with the nature of the Shadow Intro The shadow is one of the many doors to gaining access to the origins of western representation and is revealed by the myths of its origins, the myth of Plinly the Elder about the potter from Corinth and Plato’s allegory of the cave. Plinly the elder considers the shadow as the origin of pictorial representation. The story is about the potter Btades of Corinth and his daughter. The girl’s lover is leaving on a journey to go to war and the daughter decides to create a surrogate image of him in order to keep a part of him with her. The daughter’s lover ends up dying so the father creates a semblance by giving the specter consistency by filling his outline with clay and baking it in the stove to harden it. The semblance was then put with pots and later in the Temple of Corinth. The story evokes many ideas that fill the shadows void with substance. The first and most obvious is that the daughter’s action represents the origin of painting and the father’s action the origins of sculpture. Therefore it is viable to say that general artistic representation can be traced back to the primitive shadow stage. The second is that the first act of representation of the human form did not come from observing the body but from the bodies’ projection and that the first painting was a copy of a copy. The shadow becomes a mnemonic aid and makes the absent become present. There is also the aspect of time as the real shadow of the lover is present only with him and constantly moving while his surrogate image is removed from the natural order of time and is frozen in the face of progress. This has a direct connection to photography and cognitive representation. Jean Babttiste Re... ... middle of paper ... ... the Sick with His Shadow, 1427-1428. Fresco at the Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence. The shadow has also played an important part in the history of cinema brought forth by the German Expressionist movement. In the movies The cabinet of Doctor Caligari, and Nosferatu one can see giant projections of the characters shadow. It is the externalization of the person’s inner self, a distortion and projection onto the inner screen of the psyche. Through out Nosferatu the shadow releases its fist to present long shrivelled fingers. The focus on the hands as an instrument of action thematizes the idea that the shadow in this instance is an active instrument of evil. The shadow acts as a metaphor or hyperbole of the key medium of Expressionist cinema, the Close up. The very nature of cinematic production and the mechanics of its appeal are challenged.
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