Museum

MuseumEkphrasis

Only in English

Museum info

About the museum

This audioguide is centered around the concept of ‘ekphrasis’. Traditionally, this concept has been described as a verbal or textual (rhetoric) description of a visual work of art, such as a poem which translates, through a vivid description, a painting into text. The most traditional explanation of ekphrasis is present in Homer’s work The Iliad, where he described the shield of Achilles so vividly, that the ‘essence’ of the shield was translated into text. An example of ekphrasis is for example poet Anne Sexton’s poem on Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. This is a more traditional example, namely the translation of Van Gogh’s painting into a rhetorical medium, a poem. A more modern understanding of ekphrasis entails other forms of art, and thus other translations, as well. An example is the incorporation of the ‘essence’ of portraits from the Golden Age, into a portrait photograph made with modern equipment. This audio guide will show more examples of ekphrasis, as related to 4 different mediums: music, performance art, theatre, and photography. The aim of this audioguide is to demonstrate that the concept and understanding of ekphrasis can, and, and should be, extended to several mediums. The concept of ekphrasis is visible at the intersection of more mediums of art: it can be seen in an incredible range of artworks and for this reason, this audioguide is compiled with this theme at its core.

In the following, this audioguide will show 7 artworks in which ekphrasis is visible. The artworks have been selected from both well-known and less well-known artists. The artworks are accompanied by descriptions, explaining why the artwork is relevant and how it displays ekphrasis. In the audioguide, provided are also interactive links, so that you are able to be redirected to the pieces our are inspired by and translated into, our chosen artworks. First, an example of ekphrasis related to music is discussed, after which the same is done for two pieces relating to theatre, and then performance and art. Finally, two examples regarding photography are discussed.

Plan your visit

  • Anna van Buerenplein
    The Hague, Netherlands

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