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The Paragone debate – Painting and Sculpture in the Renaissance

By on Mar 9, 2021 in History of ideas, Painting, Philosophy, Sculpture | 0 comments

«Ut pictura poesis: erit si proprius stes Te capiat magis, et quaedam, si longius abstes»   Let the poem be like a picture: there are those who captivate you more when you are closer and those who captivate you when you are further away. Horace, Ars Poetica   In the Renaissance, the comparison of arts -known as the so-called Paragone- constituted an important tool for socio-cultural valorisation and inclusion within the liberal disciplines (Fig. 1), which included grammar, rhetoric, and logic (the trivium) and geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium). The most important of these comparisons, known as ut pictura poesis, first appeared in Horace’s Ars Poetica and aimed at analysing which art was more suitable for imitating nature: painting or poetry. Scholars would use Horace’s argument to establish a hierarchy among artistic disciplines. In doing...