Massimo Cacciari

  • ANIMARUM VENATOR (HUNTER OF SOULS)

    1

    IN HIS MAGISTERIAL ESSAYRetore e Mago” (Rhetorician and magician),1 dedicated to the secret of the 16th-century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s visual language, Roland Barthes argues that while a sequence of verbal discourse can be analyzed into wholes endowed with their own meanings (words), the “discourse” of a picture seems to have only one articulation: its components (lines and points), if abstracted from the combination in which they are set, have no meaning. However, Barthes continues, the elements of Arcimboldo’s figures do have meaning. Each constitutes a “lexicographic unity” taken