Pittura ed esperienze sociali nell’Italia del Quattrocento by Michael Baxandall at – ISBN – ISBN – Einaudi. Pittura ed esperienze sociali nell’Italia del Quattrocento: Michael Baxandall: : Books. pittura ed esperienze sociali nell’italia del quattrocento le condizioni del mercato un dipinto del xv la testimonianza di un rapporto sociale: da un lato un.
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Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy An introduction to 15th century Italian painting and the social history behind it, arguing that the two are interlinked and that the conditions of the time helped fashion distinctive elements in the painter’s style.
Serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century Italian painting and as a text on how to interpret soci Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy An introduction to 15th century Italian painting and the social history behind it, arguing that the two are interlinked and that the conditions of the time helped fashion distinctive elements in the painter’s style. Serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century Italian painting and as a text on how to interpret social history from the style of pictures in a given historical period, this new edition to Baxandall’s pre-eminent scholarly volume examines early Renaissance painting, and explains how the style of painting in any society reflects the visual skills and habits that evolve out of daily life.
Renaissance painting, for example, mirrors the experience of such activities as preaching, dancing, and gauging barrels. Baxandall also defines and illustrates sixteen concepts used by a contemporary critic of painting, thereby assembling the basic equipment needed to explore fifteenth-century art.
PaperbackOxford Paperbackspages. Published July 28th by Oxford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italyplease sign up. Lists with This Book. That may explain that its three chapters do not seem, in a first reading, to follow a unified and continuous line of argument.
And yet they do. At the core of his writings there is a solid thought: In spite of the simplicity of this idea, Baxandall carved a break through. This little book changed the mind of many art historians and not just those of Renaissance specialists. With a Marxist tint he posits the painting as a fossil of cultural life that testifies, amongst other things, that it was the result of a commercial agreement.
For this transaction to take place in a particular way many other social, political and economic aspects were involved. The mercantile value of the painting was becoming less material and approaching the ineffable. In this process, this perceived immateriality was also the quality that helped the craftsmen, gradually, to fashion their own persona as artists. In his second and longest chapter, The Period Eyehe explores how the paintings were lived or experienced. Quoting Boccaccio a painting But for us these paintings are not enough and Baxandall resorts to an ample use, as complementary fossils, of various kinds of texts: Language is the other medium that could reveal the thinking process when looking at paintings, even if words also have to be interpreted.
In his Giotto and Orators Baxandall found that the language that the Renaissance man had available when speaking of art was not only scant but also based on the classical tradition of rhetoric — i. A Selectionwas the main vehicle of transmission from one usage to the other.
In the search for the Eye of the Period, we find a society in which individuals lived off merchandising, were Christians, and followed specific patterns of convivial behaviour. The degree of presence of these three cultural elements varied from individual to individual, but all had the three.
A noble could be less agile with his mathematics, but he was a believer of Christ and displayed a highly polished level of politeness. A friar would have a sound theological knowledge, but had also been instructed in arithmetic and understood the meaning of gestures to be used in the pulpit.
Along the religious axis of this age paintings were endowed with a function: To do so effectively, they had to be able to move the believer and serve her or him as an aid for remembering their dogma. This implied that paintings could not become too particular and conflict with the inner minds of the beholders.
Some stock scenes were also taken as generic examples of specific virtues. The way they rendered the story had to exemplify that quality. The Visitation was an enactment of Benignity; Maternity scenes staged Laudability; and the Nativity was a complex setting in which Poverty, Humility and Joy were personated. Fra Angelico’s as Humiliatio.
Pittura ed esperienze sociali nell’Italia del Quattrocento
For social manners, or the second cultural axis, Baxandall has found several kinds of relevant texts, and in particular the books on dance can make our understanding swing: Bodies embodied the soul.
Leonardo also wrote recommendations for painters advising them to study the gestures or body language of orators and dumb men. Adam is all Shame pjttura Grief has the name of Eve. Some gestures have been lost to us making the interpretation of several paintings almost impossible for us. For example the palm of a hand slightly raised with the fingers spread out in a timid fan is found very often as a sign of invitation. One such example is the well-known Primavera by Botticelli.
The third axis in the cultural texture is the relative importance of Arithmetic in the educational baggage in this period.
To be able to calculate, to gauge with the eye, was a fundamental skill in a mercantile society, and this can be measured in the paintings. For this Baxandall turns to the educational system and textbooks. Not for nothing was the secondary school called Abaco and was centred on mathematics. The slant of these schools grew more acute ever since Leonardo Fibonacci introduced in Europe the Hindu-Arabic system of numeric notation and his Liber Abaci.
Even for those young men who wanted to become lawyers, a thorough grounding in the art of calculation was paramount for a city of merchants. One of the most fascinating texts is the mathematical handbook for merchants written by none other than the painter Piero della Francesca, De Abaco.
Forms in paintings could be easily decomposed in their basic geometric forms—cylinders, cones, and prisms– by a 15C eye. The images of the symmetry-obsessed Piero, can easily become a game of identification of the geometric forms used.
This simple and magic trick of relations was also popularized by Fibonacci anybody here who likes spirals? This easy-to-use rule is an example of the continuity between the practices of commercial culture and the looking at paintings. With this last theme, Baxandall considers how the three axes met. If some narrative scenes could also be dramatizations of virtues, one could also allegorize mathematical relations and transform them into pious matter suitable for sermons.
Harmonies of the spheres had already elevated music, and, as any reader of Dante knows, numbers could be the hidden framework of writings that helped mystical contemplation. In his last chapter, Pictures and CategoriesBaxandall picks up again arguments from his Giotto, when trying to find the language of painting.
As artistry was replacing gold leaf and lapis lazuli, a language had to develop to refer to this newly valued quality. It also had to help in differentiating individuality and personal styles.
For this, Baxandall has found in an unlikely place, in the preface to the Commentary on Dante, by Cristoforo Landinoa fascinating pictorial guide. Landino was one of the perfect Humanists: He would also respond promptly to pictorial challenges prompto. Through these paintings we can glimpse, if not fully see, that past social texture.
View all 20 comments. Jun 09, Pittkra added it Shelves: Before I started to type I had such a clear idea of what I would say. I was attracted to this book by Kalliope’s review. Her review was illustrated, a key condition for discussing a book about art, while mine is not. Reading through Baxandall’s book it was clear that dsperienze was a literary version of an oral work of art known to many a student: A lecture course, unlike my sociai, may also be illustrated.
In the background of the sentences we might imagine the fiddling with the proje Before I started to type I had such a clear idea of what I would say.
In the background of the sentences we might imagine the fiddling with the projector, a sheathe of ordered transparencies, the darkened lecture theatre. Imagination, as it happens, is the theme of the course, an attempt to recreate how a fifteenth-century person, and let us pretend to a vague precision here: That vague precision constitutes my only current criticism view spoiler [and one I mean only very mildly hide spoiler ].
The title promises Italy, but the range of the sources Baxandall has to draw upon suggests to me that the question remains open that other people elsewhere in the peninsula may have had some different ideas.
The main focus here is Florence and artists connected with it. Venice and Flanders exist in the consciousness of some of those who then discussed their contemporary art as places were things were done differently, one could find there works with qualities other than one might find in Florence.
To my mind the question of how did the fifteenth century man experience the fifteenth century picture is an absolutely valid and powerfully useful one, but then much of my own experience of art is that of the gallery wanderer. My need quattdocento confront my subjective approach with another but different subjective view leads me to respond well to this book.
The pretence of an objective view that might try to cast the painting of one age in comparison to another suddenly looks false – no one is in competition with their future.
Pittura ed esperienze sociali nell’Italia del Quattrocento : Michael Baxandall :
Helpfully this book leads me to appreciate that when I don’t understand the art of my contemporaries that I am missing the main point – I am neither an artist nor a patron. Finally the focus on the painting as a material object, that one could and did contractually define in terms of both the value of the materials and the value of the labour used in creating the painting the more ultra-marine and personal input of the master the greater the value reminds me of why Lisa Jardine’s Worldly Goods felt so old fashioned – the basic argument had already been articulated.
View all 13 comments. Jan 13, AC rated it it was amazing Shelves: Despite the fact that this is an utterly brilliant and original — and, indeed, an important — book, I can understand why some have given it 4, or even a mere 3-stars Yet those que Despite the fact that this is an utterly brilliant and original — and, indeed, an important — book, I can understand why some have given it 4, or even a mere 3-stars Yet those questions themselves are so startlingly original and apt, and so precisely formulated It is misleading, as I’ve said, to argue that Baxandall’s is an attempt at the ‘social history’ of art, as is often done.
That is not at all what he is up to. So, the concluding section for example shows how the apparently vague and at first sight completely subjective terms which Cristoforo Landino and Leon Battista Alberti applied in their analyses of painters such as Masaccio and Fra Angelico – terms like ‘puro’, ‘facilita’, ‘gratioso’, ‘ornato’, ‘colorire’ tone and ‘disegno’ line’prompto’, ‘vezzoso’ blitheand even ‘devoto’ — along with more precise and familiar terms, such as the ‘imitatore della nature’, ‘rilievo’, ‘prospectivo’, ‘varieta’, ‘compositione’, ‘scorci’ foreshortening — ALL have precise and pityura meanings that can be paralleled and accounted for by the formal categories used in 15th cen.