back to Reading Verbal and Visual Instances of Michelangelo through Lacan

NOTES: Reading Verbal
and Visual Instances of
Michelangelo through Lacan

by Raphy Sarkissian

1. Michelangelo, trans. James. M. Saslow, The Poetry of Michelangelo
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991), p. 144. All subsequent citations from Michelangelo’s
poetry are taken from this source and will be footnoted under the translator's name.

2. For such information as medium, dimension, dating, provenance and literature regarding
Archers shooting at a herm,
see Charles de Tolnay, Corpus dei disegni di Michelangelo,
4 vols. (Novara: Istituto geografico de Agostini, 1975-80).

3. Malcolm Bowie, Lacan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 158.

4. Ibid.

5. Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, trans. Alan Sheridan
(New York: W. W. Norton, 1978), p. 112.

6. I will refer to the general viewer, the subject, as “it”rather than s/he, her/his, (wo)man, fe(male), etc. For Lacan’s theorization of the gaze see “Of the Gaze as Objet Petit a”in The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, pp. 67-119.

7. Malcolm Bowie, ibid., p. 190.

8. Ibid.

9. The following terms, which appear on Lacan’s three triangles and within The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, will be used within quotation marks in order to maintain their semantic values within the realm of Lacanian discourse: object, image, geometral point; point of light, screen, picture; the gaze, image, screen, subject of representation.

10. Lacan, p. 96. “But I am in the picture” has been mistranslated by Alan Sheridan as “But I am not in the picture.” The original reads “Mais moi, je suis dans le tableau” (Seminar XI [Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973], p. 89). See Hal Foster, “Obscene, Abject, Traumatic,” October 78 (Fall 1996), p. 108.

11. Ibid., p. 94.

12. For a lucid analysis of temporality as a precondition for visual perception as theorized by Husserl, Derrida and Lyotard, see Rosalind Krauss, The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993),
pp. 198-240.

13. Bowie, p. 188.

14. Lacan, p. 96.

15. John Lott Brown, “The Structure of the Visual System” in Vision and Visual Perception, ed. Clarence H. Graham (New York: Wiley, 1966), p. 43.

16. Brown, p. 55.

17. Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena, trans. David B. Allison
(Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), p. 65.

18. Bowie, p. 189.

19. Saslow, The Poetry of Michelangelo, p. 161.

20. René Girard, Deceit, Desire and the Novel, trans. Yvonne Freccero (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965), p. 223. Cited in Rosalind Krauss, The Optical Unconscious, within the context of Jackson Pollock's rivalry with his brothers, p. 281.

21. Saslow, p. 52.

22. In chapter three of The Poetry of Michelangelo entitled “Themes and Contents,” Saslow states:
“with so much critical interest attached to “the gaze” by contemporary critics, his [Michelangelo's] attitude toward sight is ripe for further study” (p. 26). I owe my attempt to apply Lacanian visual theory to instances of Michelangelo’s poetry to this particular point in Saslow.

23. Nesca A. Robb, Neoplatonism of the Renaissance (1935- reprint: New York: Octagon Books, 1968), p. 240.

24. Ibid.

25. Saslow, p. 211.

26. Ibid., p. 114.

27. Lacan, p. 94.

28. Ibid., pp. 94-95.

29. Ibid.

30. Saslow, p. 114.

31. Krauss, p. 88.

32. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 199.