Between classicism and mannerism, [Holbein's] minimalism is the metaphor of scission: between life and death, meaning and non-meaning, it is an intimate and fme reply to our melancholies. (Julia Kristeva, Soleil noir) Artistic endeavour, especially in its forms of literature and painting, has always featured prominently in Julia Kristeva's writing, because for Kristeva, as a psychoanalyst, there is no fundamental discontinuity between the production of a work of art and the life of the individual. Even though this does not mean that a work of art is to be seen simply as a representation of the intentions or personality of the artist, Kristeva's position may yet seem surprising given the tenacity of our structuralist and post-structuralist heritage.