Abstract

Metaphors make possible creative and personally expressive ways of describing the world in a way that exceeds blunt literal description. In this article, the author considers (1) the ways metaphors function, (2) the ways that connotation, association, and implication can enrich and inflect the meanings of our words as we use them, and, finally, (3) the significance that these issues concerning verbal or linguistic meaning hold for our comprehension of parallel forms of meaning in the visual arts. The emphasis is on the artistic representation of hybrid creatures in painting, because where metaphors lead us to see one thing in the light of the other, so with hybrid creatures we can see either or any part of the hybrid in the light of the other part or parts. With some of the similarities between metaphorical speech and visual perception and interpretation identified, I turn to works by Caravaggio, Fuseli, the Parthenon sculptures, Botticelli, Picasso, William Blake, and Hieronymus Bosch.

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