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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...

The myth of Prometheus and the origin of human creativity

By on Aug 1, 2020 in Philosophy | 0 comments

« J’entrai dans un atelier où je vis des ouvriers qui modelaient en glaise un animal énorme de la forme d’un lama, mais qui paraissait devoir être muni de grandes ailes. Ce monstre était comme traversé d’un jet de feu qui l’animait peu à peu, de sorte qu’il se tordait, pénétré par mille filets pourprés, formant les veines et les artères et fécondant pour ainsi dire l’inerte matière, qui se revêtait d’une végétation instantanée d’appendices fibreux d’ailerons et de touffes laineuses. Je m’arrêtai à contempler ce chef-d’œuvre, où l’on semblait avoir surpris les secrets de la création divine. “C’est que nous avons ici, me dit-on, le feu primitif qui anima les premiers êtres… Jadis il s’élançait jusqu’à la surface de la terre, mais les sources se sont taries.» (1) Gérard de Nerval, Aurelia   In Hesiod’s Theogony, we learn of the great schism between man and the gods, which has...

The time of philosophers

By on Apr 26, 2017 in Philosophy | 0 comments

In the novel A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Within a budding grove), written by Marcel Proust in 1919, Madame Swann says: ¨The soldier is convinced that a certain interval of time, capable of being indefinitely prolonged, will be allowed him before the bullet finds him, the thief before he is taken, men in general before they have to die.¨ Such a high hope also pervades Jorge Luis Borges’ tale El Milagro secreto (The secret miracle), included in the collection Ficciones (Fictions). Jorge Luis Borges In this narration, we learn that a writer is going to be executed at 9 am. As he stands in front of the firing squad, thanks to an unexpected intercession, his death is momentarily suspended. First surprised, then grateful, he realises that the world around him came to a timely pause. The bullets froze halfway during their trip, and the curls of smoke from his last cigar have not...