Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance

Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance

Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance

Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance

Excerpt

Faced with the problem of reissuing a book nearly forgotten and entirely out of print, an author finds himself torn between conflicting impulses: either to rewrite the whole thing from beginning to end or not to touch it at all.

Prevented by age and circumstances from adopting the first of these alternatives, yet too much afraid of the Last Judgment to acquiesce in the second, this writer has decided for a compromise. Apart from correcting some palpable errors and misprints, I have left the text unaltered even where it ought to be revised or at least reformulated; but I have tried to encourage the disbelief of the reader by listing a number of books and articles which either appeared after the publication of Studies in Iconology or (in two cases) were regrettably overlooked at the time; and by adding, exigente opportunitate, a few brief comments of my own. In this way I have both salved my conscience and given, I hope, some help to those who may wish to pursue the subject further.

CHAPTER I (Introductory).

§I: The general validity of the 'iconological' method for the interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque art was challenged by C. Gilbert, On Subject and Non-Subject in Renaissance Pictures, Art Bulletin, XXXIV, 1952, p. 202 ss. It is true that 'subject' must not be confused with 'story-telling' and that 'pure' landscape, still-life and genre paintings did exist in the sixteenth century (and achieved tremendous popularity in the seventeenth); but it is equally true that even apparently subjectless productions may convey more than 'meets the eye,' as has been demonstrated, for example, by the recent studies . . .

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