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Teoria e retorica delle immagini. Tzvetan Todorov e la pittura


Among Tzvetan Todorov’s different fields of research, images play a small but highly meaningful theoretical role. The work on visuality of the Bulgarian scholar is mainly confined within the apologetic diptych about Northern painting – namely Éloge du quotidien and Éloge de l’individu – and it shows a strong relationship with the interdisciplinary approach of French theory of art, a branch of the structuralist thought born during the Seventies under the influence of Hermeneutics and Anthropology. The importance of such an approach for contemporary research on images is constantly growing, since it focuses on the discursive level – by considering the picture as an apparatus of creation of meaning – rather than the thematic or stylistic levels, typical of the classical Art History, or the pure formal one. This paper aims at tracing a survey of the inputs springing from the aforementioned books, highlighting both the links with some of the most important scholars of this disciplinary field and the personal proposals of this unique research course. We will therefore take into consideration conceptual tangles such as the notions of text and theoretical object, as well as matters of methodological nature. Through Todorov’s work, it is possible to point out some guidelines within the present time iconosphere, overwhelming the hesitations of a static and stiff approach to the processes of visual signification.