“Visual reflections”, the PIMo series edited by Paola von Wyss-Giacosa (University of Zurich), focuses on the cultural dimension of pictorial and material sources, highlighting their importance for the project and more generally for research in the field of connected histories.
Some of PIMo’s core themes – people, things, ideas, and paper in motion; cultural and emotional entanglements; histories of migration, displacement, and dispossession – and a cross-section of the stimulating approaches taken by participants in this multi-disciplinary project about histories of displacement within and from the Mediterranean (15th–20th centuries) are presented here.
Each short essay takes an image as a point of departure for reflecting on the multiple functions, meanings and expressions of the visual. The common aim is to share with a wider readership the relevance and fascination of exploring the historicity of representation, and the enduring implications of media presence and circulation.
It is said in the myths of the Greeks that the Phoenician Princess Europa was playing on the seacoast of her city of Tyre with her attendants when she was lured by the great Greek God Zeus who had disguised himself as a white bull and abducted her to Crete where he made her queen. Figure 1 : Titian, The Rape of Europa, ca. 1560/1562, oil on canvas, Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Boston. Source: Commons.wikimedia.org Europa eventually gave her name to the continent north of Greece in a clear symbolic reference to the passing of Civilization from the East Mediterranean to the continent that was hitherto nameless, and thus unselfconscious. This mythical cycle was completed by the story of Cadmus, Europa’s brother who was sent by his father, the king of Tyre, to look for his kidnaped sister. Cadmus did not find her, but he ended up settling in Greece and founding the city of Thebes, of which he became king. He then taught the Greeks the Phoenician alphabet, from which the Greek alphabet was derived; that is, Cadmus gave [...]