By Kate. EZRA
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Additional info for Art of the Dogon: Metropolitan Museum of Art
She then spends two hundred lines in front of an elaborate painting depicting the fall of Troy, rendered as a poetic ekphrasis that contains, as always, both the visible (beauty, variety, the play of optics) and the invisible (speech, differences of personality, moral worth). After the ekphrasis, the heroine manages, by a mixture of speech and actions, to make an effective public declaration, to communicate love and sorrow to her husband and father, and in effect to produce the conditions that banish Tarquin’s line and inaugurate the Roman Republic.
While ekphrasis enables the heroine to conclude her futile rhetorical exercises and perform the requisite act of public display and sacrifice, it enables Shakespeare to pass from the birth of a poetic to the birth of a dramatic language. Yet even with the promise of dramas to come, it must be noted that there is a crisis in Lucrece’s contemplation of the painting that takes on a tone much different from the lofty tragedy of her eventual public sacrifice. She has been focusing in particular on the representation of Sinon, the pretended deserter from the Greek army who persuades the Trojans to admit the fatal horse.
Color is one of the most fundamental visual metaphors that gets applied to language—so fundamental that we are liable to forget that it is a metaphor. The notion of the “colors of rhetoric,” which appears as early as Geoffrey of Vinsauf ’s book of that name written in the twelfth century, speaks to a whole set of ways in which language performs some sort of surplus in relation to denotative meaning (again, this can be viewed in bono or in malo). And long before that, Socrates in the Republic had already used his painter analogy so as to characterize color as signifying the 41 Apples and Oranges merely decorative aspect of language.
Art of the Dogon: Metropolitan Museum of Art by Kate. EZRA