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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Howard Risatti


The stenciled, sculpted, or painted word is a central motif in approximately thirty major paintings produced by Jasper Johns between 1955 and 1964. For Johns, who often recycles important ideas in his work, the written word is a key element that transcends other stylistic and iconographic transformations during this period. The words in Johns' paintings refer to the names of colors, label familiar objects or title his compositions. The written word appears in works by other artists prior to 1955, and therefore Johns' significance lies not so much in the establishment of a new aesthetic vocabulary, but in exploring ways that language works in the visual arts. Because Johns' use of word imagery from 1955-1964 is innovative and important, it is the purpose of this thesis to examine the different ways that Johns approaches the subject of language within the framework of painting.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008