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Representation for Hagiography: Pseudo-Scientific Practice of Raphael’s Skull Model

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2022, 67(), pp.134-161
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.67.0.06
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : August 9, 2022
  • Accepted : September 10, 2022
  • Published : October 31, 2022

Shin, Seung-Chol 1

1강릉원주대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper critically examines the iconological activity of Raphael’s skull cast in the Goethe era. The skull of a secular saint was reproduced in plaster as part of the long tradition of worshiping relics and casting death masks, contributing to the memorial culture. The imprinted and cast skull model was regarded as a true image made without hands and it became a popular collection item in phrenological and anatomical laboratories. Thanks to its realistic representation, the skull cast became the subject of scientific research in which objectivity is emphasized. However, in the blind belief of researchers that the skull bears the marks of artistic genius, the plaster model remained an object of unconditional admiration and mixed the ideology of objectivity with the culture of the artist cult. The skull model followed the tradition of the artist cult in the Goethe era and provided material for modern or premodern hagiography. The skull model transformed the artist's bone, which was nothing, into an organ of difference. It played the role of an active agent in the culture that worshipped artists in the Goethe era.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.