Alois Riegl and the Posographical Imperative

Harry Berger Jr.

in Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225569
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240937 | DOI:
Alois Riegl and the Posographical Imperative

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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

Chapter.  6104 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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