CERTAIN other works produced during the Quattrocento are relevant to the development of theory in Italy. The most important is the curious and celebrated romance attributed to Fra Francesco Colonna, entitled Hypnerotomachia Poliphilli, first published by Aldus Manutius in 1499 in an edition principally famous for its woodcuts. Colonna, who was born in 1433, was a monk in the monastery of SS.Giovanni e Paolo in Venice and also for a time at his native Treviso. The Hypnerotomachia is dated 1467, but the author probably went on working at it till the date of its publication. This romance is of interest because it is the only work dealing with the Fine Arts produced in Venice during the Quattrocento, and therefore the only direct clue to the views which the Venetians held about aesthetics at that time.
A very large element of Gothic survives in the painting and architecture of Venice in the late fifteenth century; for the Gothic tradition was too deeply established to be completely dislodged by the cult of antiquity which spread to Venice from Florence and Rome. The classical style was taken up, but it was treated in a romantic and irrational spirit. Painters like Mantegna imitated ancient statues with enthusiasm, but they combined what they derived from them with a Gothic emotionalism. Architects such as the Lombardi used the classical orders, but in combination with Gothic structure and with an almost oriental use of rich marbles.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600. Contributors: Anthony Blunt - Author. Publisher: The Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1940. Page number: 39.
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