PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE
THE ROOTS OF THE BIFRONTISM
From always in science coexist antithetic braces of two or more systems or attitudes. One of first, to our knowledge, to theorize on this was Pythagoras of Samos , mysterious figure of Greek scientist, who, according to Diogene Laerzio( Vitae philosophorum I, 12). " first... he used the term philosophy and first philosopher called itself; nobody is in fact sage, except the divinity ". Pythagoras and his school had characterized ten braces of primary opposites :1) limited, limitless. 2) uneven, equal ones. 3) units, variety. 4) right, left. 5) male, female. 6) quiet , movement. 7) straight, curve. 8) light, darknesses. 9) well, badly. 10) square, rectangle. Moreover, they postulated that these opposite ones were conciliated in the world from a harmony principle. But if the substance of the things is the number, the oppositions between the things are reduced to oppositions between numbers, since, for Pythagoras , the number is arché of the truth, principle of the nature and its understandablity for the man. Galileo said that the world was written in characters mathematicians, therefore easily comprehensible from our reason.
From V century B.C., we make now a jump to the ours days . Gerald Holton, professor of Physics and History of Science, in recent years has shown like, exceeded the process of validation used until 1980, based on objective and rational criteria, is important to understand that new intuitions in the field of the history and the philosophy of science are the result of the ability of imagination of the man of science Pohlen , Holton assert that " always an other brace of antithesis or polarity has existed... and just between, from a part, the galileian effort (or more properly archimedeus) towards the precision and the measurement that purify public and " objective " science from those qualitative elements that interfere with the attainment of a raisonable "objective" agreement between researchers, of one hand, and the intuitions, the fantasies, the opened eyes dreams, and the aprioristic positions that constitute half of the world of science under shape of activity personal, private, and " subjective ".Science always has been pushed and bounced between these contrary and antithetic forces (G. Holton, 1973). .
The concept of Bifrontism appears exemplar of the concept of antithetic brace, being able indeed to clarify us on its origin.
Currently, it has a use increased regarding the past, and permeates our culture in many fields: philosophical-existential, musicaL, stylistic, religious, political, economic, etc. Let see some aspect more near.
In poetry, we find again it between the rhetoricals figures , as the metalepsis (Greek name that wants to say substitution, exchange), and palindrome (the word or phrase that can be read equally in the two senses, like shows the perfect " magical square ", of Pompei, containing the phrase palindrome: "Sator arepo tenet opera rotas"," the grain winnower, with its plow, holds with cure the wheels ", then reported to the supreme God that holds with wisdom the universe, that could be read in vertical and horizontal, from right on the left and viceversa, much to be considered in the time magically equipped of extraordinary powers).
In the Chiasmus, taking the name from the letter ""chi" of the Greek alphabet, a shape to cross is had exactly, since the elements offer themselves in inverse correspondence, for which what is up to right corresponds to what is low on the left and viceversa.
Bifrontismus as brace of opposites is a concept became related to them of symmetry, in which instead the two parts that are faced are symmetrical, that is perfectly equal. In classic Greece, in sculpture, the perfect, geometric and mathematical symmetry of proportions of the opposite parts of the human body was to the base of the typical disposition of the works of Policlet, in which theCanonicharacterized in such equilibrium the supreme ideal of beauty and harmony. The mathematical property of the symmetry have been studied in more recent times from the psychologists of the perception, aiming to deepen the way in which the phenomenic world of every person organizes itself, inquiring the modalities with which the individual immediately enters in cognitive relationship with the atmosphere in which he lives, to begin from the visual perception, in order to extend to all the other senses (see Koffka, 1970; Vernon, 1964). Just the psycology of the perception has emphasized the importance of the geometric regularity in psychological field to the aims of the perception, leaving from the evidence that from the symmetry derives tranquillity living; it is probable that from these comes the importance of the symmetry, above all in the field of the arts.
Stopping to the field of the visual arts, we try to make again quickly some route, connected to the bifrontismus concept, as for example in reference to the representation of the divinity.
Begin with an important civilization of the past, that made in the visual arts a great use of the bifrontismus, i.e.the Sumerians. The bifrontismus is frequent in the representations of his tablets and the cylinders, an example for all: a two-faced image, that one of Isimud, minister of the triad of divinity, An, En-lil, En-ki.
Let change our place in the time and the space, near an other great civilization, the Greeks.It is a personage of Greek mythology, Argon, called also Argus Panoptes (that is " that sees every thing "), that is represented like a dog with one hundred eyes, that only closed to half when slept. To its death, by Hermes, it was transformed from Hera in the tail of the peacock. Here the symmetry is present, both on purpose of fabulous 100 eyes for half closed and for half opened , and in the case of the " eyes " that can be admired on the splendid tail of the peacock, when makes the wheel.
In later age, near the Celts, we find a double head in limestone of the III hundert B.C.
It follows the Roman Janus (Giano), whose cult is born from the ascertainment of the eternal passage from one to the other being. For this its temples were very simple:a long corridor, with an entrance and an escape, to enter and to exit, to begin and to end, to be born and to die, eternal courses and recourses. The root of its name alludes to the passage concept, like the Latin verbum ire (to go), the gaelic ya-tu (ford) and sanscrit yana (the door). Originally, in the historical characterizations (sculptures and coins), of the two faces of Giano, one was bearded and the other not, perhaps sun and moon symbol .
In II century B.C., on the coins, it will be represented with 4 faces, ,
Plinius the Old (23-79 a.C.)represents him like a solar God with two faces.
Macrobius (IV sec a.C) in the Saturnalia says that January (Januarius) is dedicated to Giano, God with two faces in how much fused with Artemis (Jana, that is Diana, correspondent to Diana Trivia and triform Ecate), that is representation of sun and moon (called in fact from Varro (116-27 B.C.) Iana Moon. Varro says that Janus was the God of the sky, practically identified with Juppiter).Macrobious remembers then that the God is the guardian of the earth and the roads, like Diana Trivia is the guardian of the cross roads.
Janus or Dianus, like reminded also from Frazer (1910), was to the origin the double of Jupiter. Janus would be the double of Jana (like Dianus of Diana), deriving their names from the same Ariane root DI, that means shining of light.
Cicero (106-43 a.C.) in the De Natura Deorum, remembers that Janus was called Eaunus, from eundo, (gerundio of ire, that in Latin means to go, therefore " going ", because Giano is always in motion, just like the Phoenician Uroborus snake. eating his tail, symbol of eternal return of the stages of the existence).
The legend says also that Janus, or Giano, of divine origin, would have reigned on the Latium, instituting for first the religious rituals and giving beginning to the construction of the temples. Consequently, he was the patron of theCollegia Opificum e Fabrorum, instituted under the reign of Numa and in his honor the corporations of the Roman craftsmen celebrated the two solsticial festivities, being protecting of every beginning and initiator of the civilization.
The allegory of the double face and the double forehead has been interpreted in several ways. It is connected to the gift of science of the past and the future, made to him by Saturn, by him entertained during the persecution from Jove. According to other interpretations, since the month of January (Januarius) takes name from Janus and to he is dedicated, the double forehead that connotes the herms of the God would symbolize the vision of the passed year and what is beginning.
From this to being the caretaker of the doors (Ianitor, from ianus, in Latin door) and of every passage, therefore of every beginning (year, month, day, however whichever incipit) the step is short. As solar divinity, Giano had the control of the Doors of the Sky (Januae caelestis aulae) opened to the dawn (East) and closed to the sunset (the West) from the Sun going through with his shining chariot, as to the beginning and the end of the solar year. His two faces represent therefore the two doors of skies, the points in which the pure sun rises and goes down. He was also symbol of opening and to close every year the Solstitial Doors, crossing which the Sun begin his runs ascending and discending.In some characterizations Janus have a virile face, with the beard, and a feminine face, probably in relationship to the symbolic meant of Sun and Moon expressed by the brace Janus-Jana or Diano-Diana. The two faces, bearded-old and beardless-young person, would allude also to his preside sliding of the time.
The double face of Janus then would have lend to being a reference to the platonic conception of the human soul: in the young face the divine aspect of the soul, attracted to the divinity and shining of celestial beauty could be seen; in that old one, you would look at the frailty of the human vand mundane vicissitudes , subject to becoming, and consequently destined to decline.
However, the more ancient representation of the bifrontism go back to the Paleolithic.
We must the attribution to Pietro Gaietto, who, describing the Paleolithic art, links it to the religions of the time, valuing it as instrument for cults and rituals, connecting it to the successive artistic representations of the post-paleolithic and historical people, as the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, the Thracians, the Celts, the Gauls, the Aegyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc, rich of representations of divinity with two or more heads, one or more eyes, beings with human shapes with head or parts of the body of animals.
body of animals.
Two-faced anthropomorhic Presculpture (lenght cm. 8.5, Tortona, Alessandria, Italy). It represents two human heads joined for the nape. Remarkable stylistic deformation . The eye or the orbital zone is made from a deep engraving.
Little polished for rolling in the water. Attributed to the Acheulean.
Gaietto underline that a study about the religions reliable to the anthropomorphic sculpture of the Paleolithic must necessarily make parallelisms with the historical religions that had an art with similar typology, like the two-faced Giano.
Top and down: Sculpture (height cm. 30, Voltri, Genoa, Italy). It represents two heads of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. The coupling is constituted from an half head in frontal vision with horizontal look " A " and from half head in lateral vision with look down " B ". Also considering a sure stylistic deformation, in the lateral vision " A" we look at all the particular of the face of a living Neanderthalian. The look down " B ", represents a defunct or the skull.
According to my point of view, the bifrontism since the beginning manifests like visual representation, at the same time ascertainment and celebration of braces of opposites, to begin from the twofold aspect of natural facts (life-death, male-female, day-night, sun-moon, beneficial-noxious, wet-dry etc),
characterized and celebrated through the representations in sculpture.
STwo-faced anthropomorhic sculpture (lenght cm. 9, Borgio Verezzi, Savona, Italy). It represents two human heads joined for the nape, but not on the same axis. The head on the left represents Homo sapiens sapiens. it is much expressive. It is in travertine, that is tender stone, and the holes of the eyes are obtained for rotation.
In parallel, also the tools " celebrate " the same concept, and their more perfect and completed representation is had in that who, not casually, the prehistory scholars will call bifaces (amigdale), alluding with this terminology just to their twofold face, worked by the paleolithic craftsman/artist all round (also if only for utilitary aim ).
Two-faced lithic sculpture (lenght cm. 10, Tortona, Alessandria, Italy). Difficult to establish if it represents two human heads or two animals joined for the nape. The stylistic deformation is through horizontal lengthening. Is smoothed from the tumbling much lightly. Acheulean evolued.
The "double face" then is perpetuated in the times, like very precise type of representation, codified in the iconographic aspect, but ready with extreme elasticity to receive - like container- the projections of every time, ideology and culture, with a particular emphasis on the facts related to the divine one, in how much the duplicity is however alarming, and resounds supernatural powers.
We have still to remember that the origin of the bifrontism, beyond to have been presumibly provoked from the numerous braces of opposites that the nature incessantly proposes and shows, also goes led back to intrapsichic mechanisms of splitting that, in measure not excessive and adapted to the phase, are found in the normal process of development of the human being .We refer just to that one that Melanie Klein (1952) has characterized like schizo-paranoid phase in the development of the child, in correspondence with the perception of partial objects, towards the 3-4 life months (se Klein, 1921-1924, for the definition of inner objects).
"We can suppose that man, after a long foetal preparatory life of millions of years, or perhaps shorter,at the light of the quantavolutionnist theories ( de Grazia, 1981), in that with complex gestation was developed his Self, just so "human", both,like the foetus, at neuro-physiological (Mancia, 1981) and at psychological level, ( Raskowsky, 1977), has found one of the first forms of expression and communication of internal objects of himself, just in the tools and art creation" (Filingeri,1984) .
Otto Rank, in his work "The double" , connects the double to emerging of unexpected appear of a counterpart (our " double "), the repressed re-emerges with violence, exceeding the obstructions of the censorship, and I comes overwhelmed from the anguish. The two-fold , therefore, is connected to something that overwhelms, like said , and this intuition of Rank strengthens the previously indicated hypothesis, that our ancent fathers have identified the duplicity with the idisquieting , consequently with the supernatural, therefore with the spiritual, and then, probably, with the image of a divinity. Freud will resume the concept of the double of Rank in its writing about Disturbing, heimlich/unheimlich, contrast between familiar and stranger, disturbing, exactly.
ATo the ours days , in our cultures, the two-faced figure continue to exercise a fascination, also in the visual arts. An example for all, and just from a locality far from those in which in the past the culture of the two-faced one has been developed : at Clyde River (island of Baffin), the representatives sculptors of the Arctic sculpture of the Inuit currently use vertebre of whale in order to represent Giano with two faces, and this also is considered a way to use natural shapes. It is returned therefore from far away to the origins, and the circle is closed.
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