Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600

By Anthony Blunt | Go to book overview

Chapter III COLONNA: FILARETE: SAVONAROLA1

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.

____________________
1
The traditional attribution of the Hypnerotomachia to Colonna and its dating have been the subject of much discussion. The attribution is probably correct, but the book may have been composed at a date nearer to that of publication than 1467.

-39-

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Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • ARTISTIC THEORY IN ITALY 1450-1600 *
  • Title Page i
  • PREFACE TO SECOND IMPRESSION iii
  • PREFACE TO THE FOURTH IMPRESSION iii
  • PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Plates viii
  • Chapter I Alberti 1
  • Chapter II Leonardo 23
  • Chapter III Colonna: Filarete 39
  • Chapter IV the Social Position of the Artist 48
  • Chapter V Michelangelo 58
  • Chapter VI the Minor Writers of the High Renaissance 82
  • Chapter VII Vasari 86
  • Chapter VIII the Council of Trent and Religious Art 103
  • Chapter IX the Later Mannerists 137
  • Bibliography 160
  • Index 167
  • THE OXFORD AUTHORS 172
  • HISTORY IN OXFORD PAPERBACKS TUDOR ENGLAND 173
  • OXFORD REFERENCE THE CONCISE OXFORD COMPANION TO ENGLISH LITERATURE 174
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