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Visages invisibles : retour à Cyrène

Abstract : The case of the funerary figures from Cyrene is a good one to explore the problem of non-visibility. From this dossier three kinds of reflexions arise, corresponding to the three parts of this article. First, the history of Cyrene’s rediscovery (an ancient city in Libya) reveals how difficult it was for the discoverers to see these atypical works, statues without a face found in the necropolis. The aprosopia, which characterises part of these statues, has been overlooked, even negated, before it was finally acknowledged. Second, the originality of this figurative form has been reduced to a kind of aniconism. This misleading term, now limited to specific cases of non-figuration, inscribed the “aprosopon” figures in an evolutionist conception of religious figuration, nowadays outdated. Another way of not seeing what was the originality of these statues : a solution to the problem of the figuration of death as non-visibility. Lastly, the numerous examples with a face invite us to reflect about the other signs which could take on the notion of non-visibility, in particular in sculptural representation of funerary figures.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02111862
Contributor : Agnès Tapin <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 26, 2019 - 11:51:08 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 2:34:44 PM

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Françoise Frontisi-Ducroux. Visages invisibles : retour à Cyrène. Mètis - Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens, Daedalus/EHESS, 2016, N.S.14, pp.245-265. ⟨10.4000/books.editionsehess.4250⟩. ⟨halshs-02111862⟩

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