Thélot( Jérôme) : La peinture et le cri. De Botticelli à Francis Bacon

This book analyzes in nine chapters some twenty major paintings of European painting, each illuminating the other, from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. From Pollaiolo to Bacon, through Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Poussin, Ribera, Giordano, Munch, and ending with a sculpture by Mason, the chronological development elucidates in its center the thought of Winckelmann and Lessing, explicit prohibition of the figuration of the cry. It follows a conjecture on the origin of painting, whose truth gradually conquered is stated as follows : the origin of painting lies in violence, the image comes from a cry.
An unheard-of story then appears. At first rare, from far and wide represented by daring masters, the cry in painting reveals so openly the sacrificial foundation of all representation that its theoretical proscription in the Age of Enlightenment did not prevent its elective adoption by many "modern" painters. Now this exhibition of the repressed, where the imaging power of violence and the critical power of the cry are shown together, justifies painting as self-consciousness.

2021 / 16x20 cm / 184 p. / ISBN : 978-2-85035-060-3

Date de publication : 25 mai 2022

La peinture et le cri makes first of all a stimulating paradox, of which no book has yet seized. Art of silence, "mute thing", insurmountably deprived of voice, painting, which can only represent the simple discourse by postures and gestures, has nevertheless risked sometimes to the limits of itself until figuring the cry, exceeding any discourse. The present essay scrutinizing in European art the rare, yet major, paintings that represent a cry, explains the reasons for this rarity and the significance of these exceptions.
In this new light, then, it is a new history of painting since the Quattrocento that unfolds here. For after having been dismissed from the vast majority of works produced over the centuries, the cry was explicitly prohibited in the Age of Enlightenment by Winckelmann and Lessing, so that from being sacrificed to pictorial silence by the humanist tradition, it became, against all censorship, from Romanticism onwards, a deliberate subject, posing a question that is both new and retrospective. This question is at the center of the essay : Is not every image based on violence ? Is not every representation "built on a cry" ? (Bonnefoy)

Jérôme Thélot, a former student of Yves Bonnefoy at the Collège de France, and a disciple of René Girard and Michel Henry, is an essayist and translator, and professor of French literature at the University of Lyon. His writings focus on romantic and modern poetry, on the philosophy of affectivity, and on the conditions of the image. He has developed a general poetic approach to the authors he examines, in particular Baudelaire, Rousseau, Dostoyevsky, and Sophocles, which goes back to the foundation of speech and representation in the original violence. His work on photography first described the consequences of its invention on literature (Les inventions littéraires de la photographie, PUF, 2003), then the specific characteristics of its phenomenology (Critique de la raison photographique, Les Belles Lettres / Encre marine, 2009). His "Notes sur le poétique" (Un caillou dans un creux, Manucius, 2016) explain the expectations of his research.

Foreign Rights

L’Atelier contemporain attempts to publish books of art and literature and books which associate artists and writers, with the concern to revive a dialogue between the literary and plastic arts.
The ambition is to explore the « paths of the création » through five collections gathered within the company : essays on art, written by artists, conversations and correspondences, monographs, and literature.

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