Temple, Nicholas (2007) Gesture and Perspective in 16th century Humanism. In: Annual International Conference of the Renaissance Society of America, 22nd - 24th March 2007, Miami, USA. (Unpublished)

In his recent book David Michael Kleinberg-Levin explores the phenomenological idea of “right measure” in political life, highlighting how gestures reveal a deeply embedded redemptive understanding of human existence. This study provides an important reference in my investigations of Renaissance perspective, in particular the manner in which pictorial space constitutes a communicative framework for bringing gesture into appearance. In a culture that emphasized the virtue of decorum in human action, the representation of gesture takes on redemptive significance in pictorial space. This paper will explore this idea in the context of Raphael’s School of Athens, highlighting how perspective provides both a visual and eidetic scaffold for bringing into dialogue the symbolic themes underlying the manifold gestures of the assembled figures. Challenging recent scholarship, I will seek to demonstrate that the fresco holds a mystery about the nature of continuity of Eucharistic and Pythagorean Platonic traditions.

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