EIRP Proceedings, Vol 13 (2018)

Et in Arcadia ego. A Semiotic Exercise regarding the Relation between Text and Image

Cristinel Munteanu


In this paper I aim at examining the way in which a famous Latin phrase, Et in Arcadia ego,modified its meaning due to a homonymous painting made by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), a French painter.Initially, the respective Latin phrase may have had the function of explaining or even generating Poussin’spainting (in its both variants). However, those who interpreted the meaning of the painting also reinterpretedthe inscription inserted in the image and gave it a new meaning. That is why, nowadays, the phrase Et inArcadia ego is used and understood exclusively in its latter meaning, and not in its original meaning. In myanalysis, I will start from both Roland Barthes’ remarks concerning the relation between language and image,and Erwin Panofsky’s commentaries regarding Poussin’s painting, Et in Arcadia ego.


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