2. Images as reminders of love. This was well put, as an allegory, by André Félibien. Here is how Jacqueline Lichtenstein recounts Félibien’s idea: «As the substitute for an absence, the pictorial image has all the characteristics of a sign, but it is a lover’s sign born of the painful experience of lack, the only form of representation capable of satisfying a desire that seeks a presence.» [8] It would not be difficult to find other examples: Leon Battista Alberti compared painting and friendship; and, in contemporary scholarship, David Summers has made use of Gabriele Paleotti’s expression «the defect of distance» to elaborate a theory of art in terms of the pathos of human presence and absence. [9]

3. Images as reminders. This is, for instance, Susan Sontag’s position: images don’t tell us anything, they remind us what is important. [10] The same intuition that images point to meaning, without specifying that meaning, can be found in a culturally very distant location—Christian doctrine. John of Damascus’s theory, for example, takes images as mnemonics of divinity: «We see images in created things,» he writes, «which remind us faintly of divine tokens.» [11]

4. Images as kisses. This lovely idea emerges in a very convoluted etymology proposed by  Wolfgang Wackernagel: one can associate Greek philos, that is to say «friend,» and the Indo–European root *bhilo (origin of the German Bild). In that case, Wackernagel says, Bild could be associated with meanings Émile Benveniste proposed for philos: «mark of possession,» «friend,» and, by verbal derivation, «kiss.» [12]

5. Images as models, entailing a capacity for «cognitive revelation (deixis, demonstratio)»: this is one of Gottfried Boehm’s senses of the image, and it is discussed in the Seminars in the book What is an Image? [13] There are in addition a number of other research projects on the idea of the image as model, which are not connected to theories of deixis. [14]

6. Images as the touch of flowers. This is one of Jean-Luc Nancy’s formulas: «every image is à fleur de peau, or is a flower,» he writes, «it approaches across a distance, but what it brings into proximity is a distance. The fleur is the finest, most subtle part… which one merely brushes against [effleure].» [15] Even though the Seminar participants read a number of Nancy’s texts, he did not figure strongly in the discussion or the assessments, and it is not entirely clear why.

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