Western Art No.7
Miscellaneous Notes on the Pragone
Image and Text: The Paragone
As in Castiglione's Il Cortegiano, the “Paragone” between painting and sculpture became a theme worthy of discussion among intellectuals during the early Italian Renaissance. Not only humanists but also painters and sculptors engaged in this discussion either through their theoretical writings or artistic practice. This article offers an overview of the development of the “Paragone” both in texts by Ghiberti, Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, etc., and in visual works by Ghiberti, Donatello, Mantegna, and others.
Durer's Landauer Altarpiece
For The Landauer Altarpiece Durer not only adopted the type of altarpiece current in Italy, the pala, but also designed an aedicula frame and stained glass. This paper discusses his elaboration from the viewpoint of competition with other masters in Nuremberg. In the late fifteenth century, the large-sized shrine altarpiece consisting of painting and sculpture was popular in Nuremberg; there Wolgemut, the former teacher of Durer, supervised the production of this type of altarpiece and became the city's most successful painter. In contrast, Durer attempted to compose altarpieces consisting entirely of painting, while sculptors such as Kraft and Stoss also began to create peculiar church decorations made solely of the stone or wood sculpture in which they specialized. Judging from the amount of payment received, however, Durer's painting was not as highly esteemed as these masters' works. Patricians in Nuremberg preferred large, splendid works to medium-sized paintings of superior quality. The ancestors of the donor Matth<CODE NUM=00E4>us Landauer were painters and this would factor into his decision to order an altarpiece from Durer. Given this rare opportunity, Durer tried out various strategies to compete with the splendor of large-scale shrine altarpieces and sculpture.
The Paragone in Spain
Until now not much attention has been given to the developement of the paragone controversy in Spain. Although it cannot be denied that the Spanish paragone as a whole derives considerably from preceding Italian arguments, there are at least two intriguing examples which have no parallel even in Italy. El Greco commented in favor of painting on his own copy of the Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius, on the grounds that the imitation of natural colors is the most difficult. What is more, he seems to have painted the Laocoon in his last years as a visual paragone, in which he challenged the prestigious antique sculpture of the same theme in the Vatican. The Sevillian painter and theorist Francisco Pacheco developed his own arguments in close relation to one of the artistic phenomenons of seventeenth-century Spain: the flourishing of painted wooden statuary, in which the cooperation of painters and sculptors often led to conflicts over materialistic concerns such as payment and monopolistic practices.
Rubens'Approach to Ancient Sculpture and his Relationship with Annibale Carracci
In his essay De Imitatione Statuarum, Rubens maintains that the painter must have a profound knowledge of ancient sculpture. But he warns not to imitate the hard and harsh effects of stone, and stresses the importance of representing figures made of flesh. This article examines how Rubens studied ancient sculptures and utilized them in his own <CODE NUM=009C>uvre. It also demonstrates that Rubens' position belongs to the anti-manneristic tendency centering on Annibale Carracci. Annibale regarded the direct imitation of nature as the most valuable source for artists. But he also valued a vital dialogue with the past quite highly. Therefore it is of considerable interest to us that Rubens possessed some drawings by Annibale and at least one copy after him in his own collection.
The Paragone of the Arts and its End in Eighteenth-Century England
William Blake's “work” consists of both poems and illustrations, or verbal and visual text which can be called “composite work.” The Blakean reciprocity between verse and image may be viewed in terms of ut pictura poesis, a dominant principle of Western art theory from the time of Horace and Aristotle. In the ut pictura poesis doctrine is encapsulated the inescapable fact that the arts are rivals as well as sisters. A number of references and allusions to some aspects of interartistic comparison are scattered throughout Blake's oeuvre. In the present essay an attempt is made to discuss the immense eighteenth-century literature comparing or ordering the arts, with special reference to the sisterhood and rivalry between the two arts, poetry and painting; to place Blake's conception about the parity of the arts and his artistic practice in this tradition; and finally to show how his effort to vitiate the differences among the arts, poetry, painting, music and architecture marks the end of the ut pictura poesis trope.
Photography and Painting in Edouard Manet
In mid-nineteenth-century France, when the photograph came into vogue as a new visual media, Edouard Manet also had his portrait photographs taken. In addition, the artist possessed his own album of photographs and made photographic reproductions of his paintings. However, although photography represented a new material and auxiliary measure, offering some hints and stimulus to Manet's painting, it did not influence it in any essential way. During the nineteenth century, the photograph became a rival of traditional painting in its precise reproduction of reality; photography was also approached by its artistic quality on the basis of “the theory of sacrifices”. This restriction, on the contrary, did not produce photographs which strongly influenced the innovative styles of avant-garde painters who did not attach any importance to mimesis in art. The relationship between photography and painting in Manet confirms the appropriateness of this thesis.
in Crisis, Sculpture in the Ascendant: Clement Greenberg in the late
Benedetto Varchi, <Which Is More Noble, Sculpture or Painting?> (disputa seconda)
Salvatore Settis, Laocoonte. Fama e stile
Deborah Parker, Bronzino: Renaissance Painter as Poet
Michele Hannoosh, Painting and the <Journal> of Eugene Delacroix
e il Genio di Roma, 1592-1623
From Outsider to Old Master, 1870-1892