Eyewitnessing by Peter Burke
The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews


Eyewitnessing evaluates the place of images among other kinds of historical evidence. By reviewing the many varieties of images by region, period and medium, and looking at the pragmatic uses of images (e.g. the Bayeux Tapestry, an engraving of a printing press, a reconstruction of a building), Peter Burke sheds light on our assumption that these practical uses are 'reflections' of specific historical meanings and influences. He also shows how this assumption can be problematic. Traditional art historians have depended on two types of analysis when dealing with visual imagery, iconography and iconology. Burke describes and evaluates these approaches, concluding that they are insufficient. Focusing instead on the medium as message and on the social contexts and uses of images, he discusses both religious images and political ones, also looking at images in advertising and as commodities. Ultimately, Burke's purpose is to show how iconographic and post-iconographic methods - psychoanalysis, semiotics, viewer response, deconstruction - are both useful and problematic to contemporary historians.

About Peter Burke

See more books from this Author
Peter Burke is professor of cultural history at the University of Cambridge, UK. His books include What is Cultural History? and Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe.
Published June 16, 2011 by Reaktion Books. 240 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Rate this book!

Add Review