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Peter Burke


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Eyewitnessing evaluates the place of images among other kinds of historical evidence. By reviewing the many varieties of images by region, period and medium, and looking at the pragmatic uses of images (e.g. the Bayeux Tapestry, an engraving of a printing press, a reconstruction of a building), Peter Burke sheds light on our assumption that these practical uses are 'reflections' of specific historical meanings and influences. He also shows how this assumption can be problematic.

Traditional art historians have depended on two types of analysis when dealing with visual imagery: iconography and iconology. Burke describes and evaluates these approaches, concluding that they are insufficient. Focusing instead on the medium as message and on the social contexts and uses of images, he discusses both religious images and political ones, also looking at images in advertising and as commodities.

Ultimately, Burke's purpose is to show how iconographic and post-iconographic methods – psychoanalysis, semiotics, viewer response, deconstruction – are both useful and problematic to contemporary historians.
"Provides us with a compendium . . . which continues the long process of restoring the balance between written documentation and optical representation as carriers of historical information. . . . A thoroughly engrossing explication of how fine art, graphics, photographs, film and other media can be used to make sense of lives lived out in other times." — Tate Magazine
"Well-informed and fair-minded, and it prompts one to ponder." — Michael Baxandall, English Historical Review
Peter Burke is professor of cultural history at the University of Cambridge, UK. His books include What is Cultural History? and Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Title Page 3
Imprint Page 4
Contents 5
Preface to the Second Edition 6
Introduction: The Testimony of Images 11
1: Photographs and Portraits 25
2: Iconography and Iconology 41
3: The Sacred and the Supernatural 56
4: Power and Protest 72
5: Material Culture through Images 98
6: Views of Society 125
7: Stereotypes of Others 150
8: Visual Narratives 170
9: From Witness to Historian 192
10: Beyond Iconography? 207
11: The Cultural History of Images 218
References 235
Select Bibliography 255
Acknowledgements 268
Photographic Acknowledgements 269
Index 270