The Civil War of Images. Political Tragedies, Political Iconographies

Toscano, Alberto. 2018. The Civil War of Images. Political Tragedies, Political Iconographies. Filosofski Vestnik, 39(2), pp. 17-40. ISSN 0353-4510 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the place of civil war in recent debates on political iconography. It begins with two recent theoretical and curatorial interventions into art history, by T. J. Clark and Georges Didi-Huberman, which orbit around the question of the tragic, probing the limits of tragedy as a frame to think the politics of images and contrasting Clark and Didi-Huberman’s analyses with Carlo Ginzburg’s recent re-reading of Picasso’s Guernica. The article then takes the theme of civil war to the origins of modern political thought, through a critical exploration of some recent readings of the frontispiece to Hobbes’s Leviathan, chief among them the one proposed by Giorgio Agamben in his book on the paradigm of civil war. The article concludes with a reflection on a negative political icon that came to both crystallise and condemn, in the eyes of many, the insurrectionary movements of Italy’s late 1970s.

Item Type:



Giorgio Agamben, Civil war, T. J. Clark, Georges Didi-Huberman, Umberto Eco, Carlo Ginzburg, Iconography, Pablo Picasso, Tragedy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



25 October 2018Published Online
14 June 2018Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Nov 2018 15:53

Last Modified:

23 Mar 2021 12:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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