Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8722
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8730
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The paper aims at analyzing visual metaphors and allegories in the fine arts – particularly in the symbolic paintings by J. Malczewski – as creative tools of both artistic expression and discourse storytelling in which they play a vital role. Visual metaphors are suggestive and effective in artistic performance and, therefore, in communicating abstract ideas to the individual viewer and the public. Such paintings (symbolic and surrealistic), whilst encompassing concrete (source) and universal (target) domains in their depicted metaphoric structures, can be powerful enough to create possible and alternative courses of events. Based on the analysis of R. Arnheim’s concept of openness of fine art works, J. Bruner’s theory of narrative mind, storytelling and possible worlds, and Ch. Forceville’s analyses of visual metaphors, the paper will attempt to answer the following two philosophical and epistemological questions: (1) how universal themes are depicted, perceived, conveyed, and comprehended in metaphorical paintings; and (2) what is the difference between the structures of the visual metaphors characteristic for these paintings and merely literary parabolic means. Both conceptual metaphors and blending theories are used in the analyses of selected symbolic and metaphoric paintings by Malczewski to explain in what scope his painting methods and their narrative structures are entangled in Polish national-cultural history, and how important they are in cognitive studies as well as in the history and theory of fine arts.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Arnheim, R.
    (1971) Entropy and art: An essay on disorder and order. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. (1974) Art and visual perception: Psychology of the creative eye. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bruner, J.
    (1986) Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (2002) Making stories: Law, literature, life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Forceville, Ch
    (2002) The identification of target and source in pictorial metaphors. Journal of Pragmatics, 34, 1–14. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(01)00007‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00007-8 [Google Scholar]
  6. (2008) Metaphor in pictures and multimodal representations. InR. W. Gibbs (Ed.). The Cambridge handbook of metaphor and thought (pp.462–482). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511816802.028
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816802.028 [Google Scholar]
  7. Gombrich, E.
    (1960) Art and illusion: A study in the psychology of pictorial representation. London: Phaidon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Ingarden, R.
    (1958) O budowie obrazu [On painting picture construction]. InR. Ingarden, Studia z estetyki [Studies in aesthetics] (pp.7–111). Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Juszczak, W.
    (1979) Narracja i przestrzeń w malarstwie Malczewskiego [Narrative and space in Malczewski’s painting]. InW. Juszczak, Fakty i wyobraźnia [Facts and imagination] (pp.128–156). Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Kennedy, J. M.
    (1982) Metaphor in pictures. Perception, 11, 589–605. 10.1068/p110589
    https://doi.org/10.1068/p110589 [Google Scholar]
  11. (2008) Metaphor and art. InR. W. Gibbs (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of metaphor and thought (pp.447–461). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511816802.027
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816802.027 [Google Scholar]
  12. Kövecses, Z.
    (2015) Where metaphors come from: Reconsidering context in metaphor. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190224868.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190224868.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  13. Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press 1980.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Ławniczakowa, A.
    (1990) Malczewski: A vision of Poland. London: Barbican Art Gallery.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Marks, T.
    (1996) On perceptual metaphor. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 11(1), 39–66. 10.1207/s15327868ms1101_3
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327868ms1101_3 [Google Scholar]
  16. Murray, J. K.
    (1998) What is “Chinese Narrative Illustration”?The Art Bulletin, 80, issue4. 10.2307/3051315
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3051315 [Google Scholar]
  17. Panofsky, E.
    (1955) Meaning in the visual arts: Papers in and on art history. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Pérez-Sobrino, P.
    (2017) Multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/ftl.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ftl.2 [Google Scholar]
  19. Somov, G.
    (2010) Concepts and senses in visual art: Through the example of analysis of some works by Bruegel the Elder. Semiotica, 182, 475–506.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Steen, G.
    (Ed.) (2018) Visual metaphor: Structure and process. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/celcr.18
    https://doi.org/10.1075/celcr.18 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): allegories; Jacek Malczewski; narrative function; visual metaphors
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error