Essay

Kuss eines Zyklopen. Die umgekehrte Perspektive Florenskis zwischen Kultbild und Kunstbild

Fabian Heffermehl

Published online:

19 Apr 2019

Abstract

Abstract

With his Reverse Perspective (1919) the Armeno-Russian theologian and mathematician Pavel Florensky denounced the monocular, ‘cyclopean’ vision otherwise seen as the main principle in Renaissance painting. Florensky connected the medieval icon with an ‘organic idea’ involving 1) binocular vision, 2) the observer’s movement in pictorial space, and 3) tactile proximity between observer and image. This article explores how ideas of perception relate to Florensky’s cultural criticism. His reverse perspective emerges as a complex controversy, not only between two principles in painting – the icon and the linear perspective. Florensky also challenges himself as a westernized intellectual, who, rooted in Orientalism, fails to defend a Russian Orthodox worldview.

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