It was the Philosopher Roland Barthes who coined the idea of the Studium and the Punctum in his magnum opus Camera Lucida.
The studium and the punctum are related to the idea of Photography and they assemble the meaning as thus; Studium is the linguistic, cultural, sociological, philosophical meaning attributed to a photograph and the Punctum is the very personal soul meaning, an individualized aesthetic experience of the photograph.
I would like to expand the idea of the Studium and the Punctum by selecting certain aesthetic objects.
The first example that I would like to take is the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a unique mausoleum built by the Mughal emperor in Memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. Now what is the Studium of the Taj Mahal? The studium shows the marvel of Mughal architecture, the cultural legacy of the Mughal civilization, the sociological nuance of an aesthetic structure moored in an innate sense of creativity, the philosophy of art rendered as an intellectual and emotional complex. What is the punctum of Taj Mahal? The punctum shows the soul of the king who has lost his beloved wife and has built a memoir in the remembrance of his wife. It is a depiction of the soul of life and love.
Now let’s look at the smile of Mona Lisa by Da VIN ci. At a personal level of the punctum, the smile emits a mystical charm, an innocence of poetry on the face. The smile has remained as a halo of mystical fervour. The smile of Mona Lisa is poetic, mystic, and enigmatic and has lived through time as favourite piece of art. Now what could be the Studium of meaning of Mona Lisa? The studium depicts the ethos of the culture of Venice, the life and times of a bourgeoisie culture. The studium also shows the cultural artefacts which are displayed in the body language of the painting.
Next example, I would like to take is the Last Supper by Leonardo Da VIN Ci. The Last Supper, depicts the Studium as the history of religions embedded in the language of the panting. The painting embodies a Christian iconography with Christ having the last supper with his twelve disciples and disbursing the Holy Communion. What is the punctum of the painting? The punctum is the aesthetic awakening of the muse. The painting resonates with the soul of love. The painting proselytises a soulful experience of art. The painting portrays the Christian foundations of love, charity and hope. The painting is the mirror of Christian Art.
Next example that I would like to traverse in is Michelangelo’s David. David is a piece of marvellous sculpture. The studium of it encompasses a religious iconography and features the ethic of King David. The painting at a personal level encompasses leanings on gay literature. Yes, David as the nude is a celebration of gay literature. David is the awakening of the muse of the body. David is the love of the body in an aesthesis of soulful experience.
Next example that I would like to take is Rodin’s Thinker. The thinker is a classic example of post-modern art. In it a man is sitting with a grim posture of his hands resting on his thighs. The thinker depicts the collision of the intellect and its philosophical moorings in reason. The thinker illustrates the death-of-God Philosophy. At a personal level the thinker is the persona of soul with reason in the mind and emotions in the soul.
Next example that I would like to take is Picasso’s Guernica. At a political level, the painting represents the bombing of the Basque town in Spain. At an emotional level the painting is replicate with angst, sorrow and pain. The painting evokes the storms of catharsis. It is the muse of a wounded soul. The painting shows the horrors of war and the trauma of pithy agony.
Next example that I would like to take is Dali’s persistence of memory. In it there are melting clocks, frozen embryos. What could be the Studium of the painting? It shows the unification of space and time. It is calligraphy of figurative metaphors. At a personal level the painting could show the oedipal conflict undergone by the painter. It could be the trauma associated with childhood. The passions and emptions undergo a catharsis of feeling.
Next example that I would like to take is Van Gogh’s Sower. In the painting, a man is sowing seeds in a yellow field. The painting is a depiction of the Christian allegory of the parable of the seed. The parable of the seed states that, seed planted on good soil produces much rich fruit. At a personal level, the painting is replicate with the meaning of life and its conception of having faith, hope and trust in God.
Next work of art that I would like to peruse is Gauguin’s work: Where do we come and where do we go? The painting is an allegory of Christian iconography. In the centre of the painting we can see Eve eating the forbidden fruit. There is also an image of a pagan God. The painting is a reflection of Gauguin’s conflict with religion and pagan weltanschauung. There is personal conflict with taboo and permissiveness.
The next work of art that I would like to embrace is Munch’s Scream. In the Scream, a man is in utter woe and angst. The painting encompasses the trepidation of existential philosophy and its angst. The author is a poet who has a storm in his inner consciousness. At a political and cultural level it shows the nausea of society which has lost all religious hope and is mute and needing an oasis of comfort. The painting reveals the decadence of society, a fall in morals, ethics and value systems. Life is chaotic, meaningless and ruthless.
The next example that I would like to take is Duchamp’s Urinal. Duchamp is notorious for placing a urinal upside down and proclaiming it as an aesthetic artefact. The painting reveals a fetish of pseudo narcissism caught up in the lugubrious syntax of a decadent culture. Yes, everyday objects are a narcotic of the phantasmagoria of fecund imagination.