Google PlusFacebookTwitter

The parallel between the arts & the birth of art criticism

By on Jun 19, 2021 in History of ideas, Mimesis, Painting, Paragone, Philosophy, Poetry | 0 comments

E spesso ne la fronte il cor si legge. Petrarca   In our previous article, we introduced the Paragone, also known as the parallel between the arts, by comparing painting and sculpture in the Renaissance. This essay will illuminate the rich critical tradition that explored the relationship between literature and the visual arts and revisit some of their Renaissance referents.  Through the Paragone controversy, intellectuals sought to establish common links between the various arts and crafts by focusing on their specific means and purposes. In doing so, thinkers would often refer to the precept ut pictura poesis (“as is painting, so is poetry”), first coined by Horatio to exemplify the similarities between poetry and painting but later used in academic circles to explore the existence of equivalent connections between the other arts. This claim suggested that in all...

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...

Bosch on LSD

By on Jun 25, 2017 in Painting | 0 comments

Hofmann’s bad trip   Inadvertent of its consequences, Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for the Sandoz Laboratories (now Novartis), meticulously wrote these lines in his journal: 4/19/43 16:20: 0.5 cc of 1/2 pro mil aqueous solution of diethylamide tartrate orally = 0.25 mg tartrate. Taken diluted with about ten cc water. Tasteless. 17:00: Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh. Supplement of 4/21: Home by bicycle. From 18:00- ca.20:00 most severe crisis. (See special report) Here the notes on his laboratory book abruptly stop. The detached tone of his writing, so typical in scientific reports where the first person is usually self-effaced, would soon morph into prophetic. His inner self would also dissolve in the process, but this time not in the wake of fighting vanity or pursuing objectivity. He had been able to write...

Time in Art

By on Apr 1, 2017 in Painting | 0 comments

In his poem “Time, Real and Imaginary” the English writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) tells us about an endless race between two kids: a little girl and her blind brother. The girl is taking the lead, but at some point, she looks over her shoulders just to find her brother struggling to catch up. This poem suggests that our imagination flies ahead, transporting us to the realm where everything is possible. On the contrary, our senses anchor us to the present, binding us to the immediate circumstances. This work introduces two substantially different ways of perceiving time. The blind boy symbolizes the metric time that marks the beat of our everyday lives while being unaware of the future and what it will bring to us. But we also have the imaginary time represented by the girl, the time of our expectations, dreams, and plans that defy any measuring system. Unfortunately,...

Motion seen through a painter’s palette

By on Feb 17, 2017 in Painting | 0 comments

The illusion of movement The motion has always fascinated us. In pre-Socratic Greece, Zeno of Elea distrusted its credentials, arguing that “it is impossible to move because what moves must reach the half-way point earlier than the end.” Since the number of half-points between two end-points of a journey is infinite, he concluded that it is impossible to traverse an infinite number of states in a limited time. He was inadvertently sowing the seeds of calculus, which would remain dormant for a while. At the beginning of the XXth century, poets and painters were adamant in proclaiming the virtues of motion and speed. In his Manifesto del futurismo (1909), Marinetti wrote: Up to now, literature has glorified contemplation, ecstasy, and reverie. We want to exalt the aggressive movement, feverish insomnia, the racing step, the deadly leap, the slap and the punch. We declare that the world’s...