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Image and MythA History of Pictorial Narration in Greek Art$
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Luca Giuliani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226297651

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226025902.001.0001

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The Advent of Pictorial Narratives in the Seventh Century

The Advent of Pictorial Narratives in the Seventh Century

(p.53) Chapter 3 The Advent of Pictorial Narratives in the Seventh Century
Image and Myth

Luca Giuliani

, Joseph O’Donnell
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a perspective on descriptions positing that they are never passive reflections of how the world works but a cognitive outline of what we think we know of the world. For the purposes of comprehension, descriptions translate the diversity of the world into an intelligible form. They move between two polar extremes that can be termed cliche and chaos. A description degenerates into cliche when it involves excessive reduction of what is real and relies too much on formulaic elements, resulting in the portrayal of a world with which recipients are already well acquainted. On the other hand, a description that encompasses an unexpected degree of diversity and eliminates familiar systemic categories can overburden its recipients and result in their perceiving only chaos. The fundamental problem of descriptive representations thus consists in maintaining a balance between these two extremes.

Keywords:   descriptions, formulaic elements, diversity, cliche, chaos

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