From 'Abbild' to 'Bild'? Depiction and Resemblance in Husserl’s Phenomenology

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In a well-known course he gave in 1904-1905, Edmund Husserl developeda ‘threefold’ notion of image revolving around the notion of depiction [Abbildung].More specifically, the phenomenological description allows a seeing-in to emerge as anessential characteristic of the image consciousness, in which an image object assumesthe role of a representant [Repräsentant] in order to allow us to see the image subjectin the image itself (thanks to “moments of resemblance” shared by image object andimage subject). Nevertheless, our paper – focusing particularly on what might be calledthe depictive art par excellence, that is the portrait – aims to show that it would beerroneous to read the Husserlian notion of image exclusively on the basis of this earliercourse: things seem to change significantly when Husserl develops a different notionof phantasy, and artistic images, in particular, are not to be thought of as resemblingsomething else, but rather as expressive images producing their own model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Image
  • Depiction
  • Expression
  • Portrait
  • Resemblance


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