Opening with a review of leading accounts of the image as an object with agency, this article proposes to study religious images within the webs or networks that endow them with agency. The example of a well-known medieval reliquary serves to show how what I refer to as 'focal objects' participate in the creation of assemblages that engage human and non-human actors in the social construction of the sacred. Focal objects are nodal points that act as interfaces with the network, particularly with invisible agents within it. As participants in a network, images are like masks, offering access to what looks through the mask at viewers engaged in a complex of relations that constructs a visual field or the ecology of an image.
Seeing and the Study of Religion
Lacan and the Satirists
This article investigates the applicability of certain aspects of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to the study of visual satire and/or caricature. Lacan's treatment of the phenomenon of visual anamorphosis can provide a fruitful new way of thinking about the art of caricature. The visual exaggerations and distortions central to the art of caricature function as they do, as works of social or political satire, by virtue of the extent to which they expose the psychological emptiness or hollowness (castration) which inheres in all human social or symbolic activity. This argument is then applied to the political circumstances prevailing in late Georgian England: in particular, the visual satirical treatment devoted to the nature and status of the monarchy during this period is examined in the light of foregoing arguments.
Sublimations of Monarchy in Georgian Satirical Prints
This article attempts to account for an apparently wholesale reversal in the visual satirical treatment of the British Crown and its incumbents during the later Georgian and Victorian eras. Using a range of prints from across the Georgian era, some of which have not hitherto been widely published, I argue that the rise of modern parliamentary politics on the one hand, and the threat of war and invasion on the other, created a satirical environment in which the institution of the Crown became effectively sublimated in terms of popular perception; at the same time, the figure of the king himself, his ‘body natural’, became dissociated from the institution that he nominally embodied, such that he could safely be visually lampooned in the manner associated with Gillray and other visual satirists of his generation.
Jean (Cabu) Cabut, Anke Feuchtenberger, Harry Morgan, Mark David Nevins, Jean (Plantu) Plantureux, Caroline Rossiter, Tanitoc, Michael G. Vann, and Jane Weston
Notes on contributors