Sunday, February 11, 2007

The moral I want to draw from this reading [of Salvador Dalí’s The Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus], and from each of the other uncontrolled and unbelievable interpretations I have described in the course of the book, is that an engaged imagination is finally what compels conviction. Indisputable facts and irrefutable discoveries are only the skeleton of art history: what counts both initially and ultimately is the ability to put a full emotional and intellectual commitment on the page, and bring the apparatus of interpretation to bear in the most forceful possible manner.

--- James Elkins, Why are our pictures puzzles?: On the modern origins of pictorial complexity (1999), p. 244