Talking Hands

24.02.2006 to 17.04.2006


Already in the treatises on rhetorics by Cicero and Quintillian, the repertoire of gestures is recognized as a basic asset of human interaction. The gesture of the hand is given a status analogous to that of the spoken word and the universal intelligibility of gestures, its function as a universal language, is emphasized.

After a systematic classification of gestures and facial expressions had taken place in the Middle Ages, in the 15th century artists began to ascribe special faculties to their own hands. The hand is seen to possess manifold powers of expression, from the representation of the creative hand of the artist to the hand portrait that replaces the self-portrait.

In selected works of art from the 15th through to the 20th centuries, the exhibition "Sprechende Hände" will introduce the pictorial motif of the hand and its numerous attitudes of gesture and expression.