World Art 11 (2):201-227 (2021)

Authors
Jakub Stejskal
Masaryk University
Abstract
This essay re-examines the once promising idea that style analysis can provide an independent source of insight into an artifact's non-stylistic context. The essay makes explicit the consequences of treating collective style as such a source in archaeology and anthropology of art, and further develops a new framing for the idea that avoids the criticisms largely responsible for the decline in theoretical interest in the epistemic import of visual style analysis since World War II. This re-framing proposes that inference from style to context is permissible on those occasions when a collective style signals by its morphology its suitability to serve a certain function. And it does so because it prescribes publicly certain modes of behavior or spectatorship. Furthermore, the public nature of the signaling may be such that it allows even uninitiated spectators to get a sense of it and thus to gain access to some of the motivations and norms informing the collective's form of life.
Keywords visual style  pictorial style  collective style  style analysis
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References found in this work BETA

Understanding Pictures.Dominic Lopes - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology.Robert Chapman & Alison Wylie - 2016 - London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.
Artifacts and Their Functions.A. W. Eaton - 2020 - In Sarah Anne Carter & Ivan Gaskell (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture. Oxford University Press.

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