Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities
2000—2001 Forum on Style
Metonyms: For the Early Modern Image
Dr. Zorach's research stems from dissatisfaction with the currently available disciplinary "options" within the study of Renaissance art history. To broaden our thinking about our own relation to images from the past, specifically the early modern (Renaissance and Baroque) period, she produces a different and figural vocabulary for thinking about early modern images, one that can be used to address issues that are both historical and contemporary. She is particularly interested in the style of looking practiced by viewers in the present as we seek to make sense of images from the past. Thus, she attributes style not only to objects but also, and perhaps even more significantly, to viewers. The term she uses to imagine a style of looking is "metonym," or a way of thinking of objects as having associative and allusive relationships — intertextual or even "intercorporeal" — both within the historical cultures that produced them and in our own experience of viewing.