Metamorphosis pp 141-151 | Cite as

Painterly Transubstantiations/Political Change

  • Jorella Andrews
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 81)


“With no other technique than what his eyes and hands discover in seeing and painting, [the painter] persists in drawing from this world, with its din of history’s glories and scandals, canvases which will hardly add to the angers or the hopes of man — and no one complains.”1 So writes Maurice Merleau-Ponty in the first section of his late essay ‘Eye and Mind’ which was published in 1961. By way of example, he cites Cézanne who “lived hidden away at Estaque during the war of 1870” where he continued to paint.2 (The war in question was the Franco-Prussian War; Melting Snow in L’Estaque [or The Red Roofs] (Figure 1)3 was one of the paintings produced by Cézanne during this period.) Nonetheless, returning to ‘Eye and Mind’, the compulsive transformation of “the world into paintings” at issue here — whether enacted in literal or in metaphorical retreat from a world in socio-political crisis and having no apparent impact upon it — is presented by Merleau-Ponty as an interrogative project marked by the utmost urgency. “What, then, is this secret science which [the painter] has or which he seeks?” he asks. “That dimension which lets Van Gogh say he must go ‘further on’? What is this fundamental of painting, perhaps of all culture?”4


Versus Isible Spontaneous Organization Secret Science Painterly Mode Interrogative Project 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind,” in James M. Edie (ed.), The Primacy of Perception (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964), pp. 159–190, p. 161.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible (followed by working notes), Claude Lefort (ed.) and Alphonso Lingis (trans.) (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968), p. 102. Originally published as Le Visible et l’invisible ( Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1964 ).Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    See Paul Crowther, Art and Embodiment ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993 ), pp. 102–103.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Ce´zanne’s Doubt,” in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Patricia Allen Dreyfus (trans.), Sense and Non-sense ( Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1964 ), p. 13.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    Kaja Silverman, World Spectators (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), p. 130. See particularly Chapter Six, “The Language of Things,” pp. 127–146.Google Scholar
  6. 26.
    Merleau-Ponty, “Ce´zanne’s Doubt”, op. cit., p. 16. The theorist David Abrams, conversely, has referred to this world as “a more-than-human-world”. See Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human-World ( New York: Vintage Books, 1997 ).Google Scholar
  7. 28.
    Sonia Kruks, The Political Philosophy of Merleau-Ponty (Sussex: The Harvester Press and New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1981) p. xivGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorella Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

Personalised recommendations