Figuration across Artistic Texts

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2017, Vol. 3. №1

Figuration across Artistic Texts

For citation: Chrzanowska-Kluczewska E. 2017. “Figuration across Artistic Texts”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 8-21. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2017-3-1-8-21

About the author:

Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska, Prof. Dr. hab., Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland);


The article takes up the issue — discussed for several decades by theoreticians of art and practitioners of artistic semiotics — whether verbal and pictorial figuration can be claimed to draw from common resources. Specifically, I want to focus on master tropes, the leading semantic figures, which — as reflections of creative imagination — shape literary discourse. My aim, however, is to claim their presence in the visual arts. Using some chosen examples of artworks, I will argue that the neo-classical tetrad of metaphor-metonymy-synecdoche-irony (cf. Vico, Burke, White) is also discernible in the painted/sculpted media. What is more, I propose the extension of Vichian set to include such figures as, e. g., simile and antithesis (contrast). I also raise the issue of universality vs. culture-specificity of semiotic figuration. All in all, the paper is a contribution to the subject of transmediality, that is convergence of the verbal and non-verbal arts within the semiosphere.


  1. Barthes R. 1982. “Arcimbaldo ou rhétoriquer et magician”. In: Barthes R. 1982. L’obvie et l’obtus: essays critiques, Barthes Roland, pp. 122-138. Paris: Seuil.
  2. Burke K. [1945] 1962. A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  3. Chrzanowska-Kluczewska E. 2004. Language-Games: Pro and Against. Kraków: Universitas.
  4. Chrzanowska-Kluczewska E. 2012. “Can Tropes Be Seen?” Journal of Kyiv National Linguistic University. Philology Series, vol. 15(2), pp. 71-80.
  5. Chrzanowska-Kluczewska E. 2013. Much More than Metaphor. Master Tropes of Artistic Language and Imagination. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Edition. DOI: 10.3726/978-3-653-02958-1
  6. Cocksey D. 2013. “The Rhetoric of Rock: The Stylistics of Amplified Sound”. Tyumen State University Herald. Philology, no 1, pp. 66-72.
  7. Crowther P. 2009. Phenomenology of the Visual Arts (Even the Frame). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  8. Foucault M. [1966] 2009. The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London, New York: Routledge.
  9. Gadamer H.-G. [1960] 1993. Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad.
  10. Gasparyan S. K. 2000. Figura sravnienia v funkcyonalnom osviestchenii [The Figure of Simile in a Functional Perspective]. Yerevan: University of Erevan Press.
  11. Gibbs R. W. Jr. 1994. The Poetics of Mind. Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  12. Gombrich E. H. 1996. The Essential Gombrich. Selected and edited by R. Woodfield. London: Phaidon.
  13. Haapala A. 2006. “Aesthetic Intimacy. Experiencing Literature and Art”. In: Ruokonen F., Werner L. (eds). 2006. Visions of Value and Truth. Understanding Philosophy and Literature, pp. 139-151. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press (Acta Philosophica Fennica, no 79).
  14. Jakobson R. 1956. “Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances”. In: Jakobson R., Halle M. (eds). 1956. Fundamentals of Language, pp. 53-82. Gravenhage: Mouton.
  15. Lakoff G., Johnson M. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press.
  16. Lausberg H. 1960. Handbuch der literarischen Rhetorik: Eine Grundlegung der Literaturwissenschaft. München: M. Hueber.
  17. Lévi-Strauss C. [1962] 1966. The Savage Mind. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press.
  18. Lodge D. 1977. The Modes of Modern Writing. Metaphor, Metonymy, and the Typology of Modern Literature. London: Edward Arnold.
  19. Lotman Yu. M. [1970] 1977. The Structure of the Artistic Text. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.
  20. Lotman Yu. M. 1990. Universe of the Mind. A Semiotic Theory of Culture. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  21. Mayenowa R. M. [1974] 2000. Poetyka teoretyczna [Theoretical Poetics]. Wrocław: Ossolineum.
  22. Porębski M. [1980] 2009. “Czy metaforę można zobaczyć?” [Can Metaphor Be Seen?]. In: Królikiewicz G. et al. (eds). 2009. Literatura a malarstwo — malarstwo a literatura. Panorama myśli polskiej XX wieku [Literature vs. Painting — Painting vs. Literature. A Panorama of Polish 20th Century Thought], pp. 529-542. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego.
  23. Schurian W. 2005. Sztuka wyobraźni [Art of Imagination]. Polish edition. Köln: Taschen/TMC Art.
  24. Semino E. 2008. Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  25. Shklovsky V. [1917] 1965. Russian Formalist Criticism. Four Essays. Translated by Lee T. Lemon, Marion J. Reis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  26. Todorov T. 1979. “Synecdoques”. In: Todorov T. et al. 1979. Sémantique de la poésie, pp. 7-26. Paris: Seuil.
  27. Uspiensky B. A. 1975. “Strukturalna wspólnota różnych rodzajów sztuki (na przykładzie malarstwa i literatury)” [Structural Community of Various Kinds of the Arts (on the Example of Painting and Literature)]. In: Janus E., Mayenowa M. R. (eds). 1975. Semiotyka kultury [The Semiotics of Culture], pp. 211-242. Warszawa: PIW.
  28. Vico G. [1744] 1984. The New Science of Giambattista Vico. Translated by Thomas G. Bergin, Max H. Fisch. Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press.
  29. Werth P. 1994. “Extended Metaphor — A Text-World Account”. Language and Literature, vol. 3(2), pp. 79-105.
  30. White H. 1973. Metahistory. The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth Century Europe. Baltimore, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  31. White H. 1978. Tropics of Discourse. Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  32. White H. 1999. Figural Realism. Studies in the Mimesis Effect. Baltimore, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  33. Wiesing L. [2005] 2010. Artificial Presence. Philosophical Studies in Image Theory. Translated by Nils F. Schott. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  34. Wolf W. 2005. “Intermediality”. In: Herman D., Jahn M., Ryan M.-L. (eds). 2005. Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, pp. 252-256. London, New York: Routledge.
  35. Wysłouch S. [1980] 2009. “Wizualność metafory” [Visuality of Metaphor]. In: Królikiewicz G. et al. (eds). 2009. Literatura a malarstwo — malarstwo a literatura. Panorama myśli polskiej XX wieku [Literature vs. Painting — Painting vs. Literature. A Panorama of Polish 20th Century Thought], pp. 543-556. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego.
  36. Ziomek J. 1984. “Metafora a metonimia. Refutacje i propozycje” [Metaphor and Metonymy. Refutations and Proposals]. Pamiętnik Literacki, no 1, pp. 181-209.