Interpreting Artworks: Prolegomenon to a Cross-Cultural Hermeneutic
Hermeneutics operates whenever what is
said is not immediately intelligible.
A great deal has been accomplished in recent times by philosophical hermeneutics in developing our understanding of what it means to interpret a "text", but very little substantive work, it seems, has been carried out to develop a cross-cultural or, in keeping with the terminology of this conference, "transcultural" hermeneutic.
"Sidney Geist on Criticism." Artforum. June 1962: 5.
A few quite simple lessons: That statements on art'make the same sense that we expect to find in statementsabout any other subject. That critics be "knowledgeable, sensitive, honest, Iiterate and artistic. That critics know what they are talking about, and talk only about what they know. This is not to say that there are no problems, difficulties, even mysteries in the realm of art. There are many.
Historical Legitimacy, Pictorial Order, and Critical Necessity
Michael Baxandall, Patterns of Intention, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985, pp. 117 – 121.
Let us agree that any account we give of the historical reality will correspond to it in a very summary and diagrammatic form. It is a little like the correspondence between the schematic maps of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System or London Underground and the knotted complexities of the real things: (1) the diagram leaves much out; (2) it is a small-scale registration of a large thing, and a static registration of a moving thing; (3) its emphasis is much distorted by the demands of its own form, whether symbolic lines or symbolic words; (4) the medium is conventional and demands understanding itself; (5) it is directed to a specific sort of use; (6) its meaning lies in its relation to a more complex reality.