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Manhood, Marriage, and MischiefRembrandt's 'Night Watch' and Other Dutch Group Portraits$
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Harry Berger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225569

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823225569.001.0001

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Alois Riegl and the Posographical Imperative

Alois Riegl and the Posographical Imperative

Chapter:
(p.85) 5 Alois Riegl and the Posographical Imperative
Source:
Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief
Author(s):

Harry Berger Jr.

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823225569.003.0006

Riegl made changing sitter/observer relations the conceptual center of his master narrative, which was shaped by the conviction that the genre's defining characteristic was the subjective factor of attention or attentiveness (Aufmerksamkeit), the third in the triad of attitudes that constitute his “psychological typology.” Aufmerksamkeit is the attentiveness of the sitters to each other and to the viewer, and the attentiveness of the viewer to the sitters as a group and as individuals. Posing as if not posing may well produce the anecdotal Genre effect even to the extent of suggesting action that involves participant observers. Riegl's account of group portraiture elides a prior and more basic pretense. Riegl imagines observer space peopled by virtual viewers invisible to us but not to the sitters.

Keywords:   Alois Riegl, group portraiture, participant observers, posing, sitters, Aufmerksamkeit, attention, attentiveness

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