The Divine Hands of the Artist: Dual, Floating and Invisible Hands in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century European Art

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dc.contributor.advisor Griffey, E en Aumua, Sharnell en 2012-11-20T02:27:34Z en 2012 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Many sixteenth and seventeenth-century European paintings feature hands that appear to be shared by two figures, or seem disembodied or ghostly. I term these: 'dual,' 'floating' and 'invisible' hands. Scholars however, have not explored these visually ambiguous hand-types. In each work the ambiguity suggests a theosophical interpretation of the hand. What I mean by 'theosophical' is the hands are suggestive of divine knowledge, relative to nature, God and the mysteries of the universe. The hands represent deeper levels of meaning that are also implied in the subject and visual aspects of each painting. Aligning this system of signs with early modern theories, I argue that Renaissance and Baroque artists employed these hand-types additionally as representations of their supposedly, divine creative genius. The hands signified a parallel between God (the pre-eminent artist) and the apparently, divine hands of the master artist, a concept based on my interpretation of two key primary texts that detail lives of artists: Giorgio Vasari's Lives (1550) and Karel van Mander's Schilderboek (1604). Relating the notion of God as artist and the artist as God to early modern theories of the ideal artist, nature, knowledge, anatomy, the universal man and the ugly genius, suggests the God-like power attached to the dual, floating and invisible hands. Furthermore, drawing from the Lives and the Schilderboek, which combine history and myth, the Bible, as well as epic poetry from Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (1321) and Homer's Iliad (800 B.C.E), this thesis also demonstrates how historical and art historical truth can be found, even in fiction. It contributes to scholarship by arguing that there are hand-types that have not yet been explored, and aligns them with these allegorical interpretations. In that sense it not only looks at hands in paintings from a fresh, original perspective, but also encourages others to question what counts as knowledge in art history. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. embargo? --need checking if the form received. en
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dc.title The Divine Hands of the Artist: Dual, Floating and Invisible Hands in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century European Art en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 363738 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2012-11-20 en

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