In "Ars Negativa," his fifth chapter, McCann characterizes Rossetti's search for an iconography of ideal presences and conceptual Aufhebung, in the prose tale "Hand and Soul," in the painting The Girlhood of Mary Virgin," and in assorted verbal and material canvasses of hieratically
sensualized women, as forms of "literal" self-reference and mystical ars negativa in service to a "transnatural idea" (p.
The tension between the rapidity of the montage and the slowness of its thematic or imagistic evolution encouraged the double consciousness of a unique film meticulously articulating its own frame of reference and of all films, or rather the cinema itself, hieratically
declaring its fundamental elements, making the screen an altar at the edge of the night sky.
He presents severely and hieratically
subdued "stagings" in which the canvases are arranged according to a classical, almost Olympian rhythm and within which all perceptual ambiguities, which tend to throw the viewer's glance off balance, can be resolved.