Art and Ideas Francisco de Hollanda and Sixteenth-Century Aesthetics The historians of aesthetics who have studied the problem of ideas in art theory (from Panofsky to Baeumler and Tatarkiewicz) have overlooked Da pintura antiga, by Portuguese artist and theoretician Francisco de Hollanda (1517-1584), a text where the Platonic notion of idea enters a treatise on art for the first time. The present volume aims to fill such gap by shedding light on an author who has long been overshadowed by the great Michelangelo (whom Hollanda met during his stay in Rome in the years 1538-1540), as well as by advancing an analysis of the aesthetic concepts that emerge not only from Da pintura antiga, but from the entire body of Hollanda’s works. The most significant element is that in Hollanda’s approach art theory appropriates connotations previosuly reserved for poetic creativity. In fact, poetry had borrowed from Platonic philosophy the notion of “divine frenzy” to describe the inspired poet. According to Hollanda, on the contrary, it is the artist who, possessed by such frenzy, is able to rise to the world of ideas. Artistic creativity thus acquires a sacred dimension: “ancient painting” is seen as a sort of “prisca pictura” that, like Ermete Tremegisto’s “prisca theologia”, reveals the most hidden truths. The “melancholic” artist, who possesses an inspired and bizarre imagination, as best exemplified by “grottesche”, is the only one capable of grasping the idea and fixing it with uncommon rapidity in a sketch. This is a complex and not always immediately successful procedure. Thus, Hollanda considers blindness as a privileged factor to grasp the kind of beauty that the artist, like the prophet, can see only with his “inner eyes”, eyes that are not dimmed by sensible perceptions. Consequently, “drawing” becomes a key element of Hollanda’s thought. Drawing emerges as the basis not only of painting, sculpture, and architecture, but of all the arts that are connected with images: from martial strategy to civil and military engineering; from maps to the design of insignia, livery, clothes, and ornaments. Hollanda moves beyond the distinction between major and minor arts, and his approach emerges as more modern than the one that Vasary will articulate a few years later in his famous definition of the “arts of drawing”.

DI STEFANO, E. (2004). Arte e Idea. Francisco de Hollanda e l’estetica del Cinquecento. AESTHETICA. PRE-PRINT, Supplementa n. 12(12), 3-169.

Arte e Idea. Francisco de Hollanda e l’estetica del Cinquecento

DI STEFANO, Elisabetta
2004-01-01

Abstract

Art and Ideas Francisco de Hollanda and Sixteenth-Century Aesthetics The historians of aesthetics who have studied the problem of ideas in art theory (from Panofsky to Baeumler and Tatarkiewicz) have overlooked Da pintura antiga, by Portuguese artist and theoretician Francisco de Hollanda (1517-1584), a text where the Platonic notion of idea enters a treatise on art for the first time. The present volume aims to fill such gap by shedding light on an author who has long been overshadowed by the great Michelangelo (whom Hollanda met during his stay in Rome in the years 1538-1540), as well as by advancing an analysis of the aesthetic concepts that emerge not only from Da pintura antiga, but from the entire body of Hollanda’s works. The most significant element is that in Hollanda’s approach art theory appropriates connotations previosuly reserved for poetic creativity. In fact, poetry had borrowed from Platonic philosophy the notion of “divine frenzy” to describe the inspired poet. According to Hollanda, on the contrary, it is the artist who, possessed by such frenzy, is able to rise to the world of ideas. Artistic creativity thus acquires a sacred dimension: “ancient painting” is seen as a sort of “prisca pictura” that, like Ermete Tremegisto’s “prisca theologia”, reveals the most hidden truths. The “melancholic” artist, who possesses an inspired and bizarre imagination, as best exemplified by “grottesche”, is the only one capable of grasping the idea and fixing it with uncommon rapidity in a sketch. This is a complex and not always immediately successful procedure. Thus, Hollanda considers blindness as a privileged factor to grasp the kind of beauty that the artist, like the prophet, can see only with his “inner eyes”, eyes that are not dimmed by sensible perceptions. Consequently, “drawing” becomes a key element of Hollanda’s thought. Drawing emerges as the basis not only of painting, sculpture, and architecture, but of all the arts that are connected with images: from martial strategy to civil and military engineering; from maps to the design of insignia, livery, clothes, and ornaments. Hollanda moves beyond the distinction between major and minor arts, and his approach emerges as more modern than the one that Vasary will articulate a few years later in his famous definition of the “arts of drawing”.
Settore M-FIL/04 - Estetica
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DI STEFANO, E. (2004). Arte e Idea. Francisco de Hollanda e l’estetica del Cinquecento. AESTHETICA. PRE-PRINT, Supplementa n. 12(12), 3-169.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/20300
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