This essay seeks to introduce the reader to two works by the philologist Franciscus Junius (1590–1677) on the history, theory, and language of the praise and criticism of the fine arts in classical antiquity, De Pictura Veterum (or, in Junius’ own English translation, The Painting of the Ancients) and the Catalogus Architectorm, Mechanicorum, sed paecipue Pictorum, Statuariorum... et Operum quae fecerunt. These books, once considered on indispensable guide to the study of classical archaeology and the development of an informed and just love of art, experienced a remarkable change of fortune in the course of the nineteenth century and are now rather forgotten even though, together, they still remain the richest and most percep-tive collection and interpretation of passages from classical literature which address them-selves to or, more often, deal in passing with the fine arts or with works of art. The chief pur-pose of Junius’ work is to create or recreate, by the presentation of ancient texts in the form of a coherent argument, a kind of constitution for the exercise of the fine arts in which delight, dignity, and social usefulness are naturally joined.
Junius, who does not attempt to be original but rather just and thorough, joins the theorists, as well as some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, in taking the philosophers’ suspi-cions of art (joined by the strictures of religion) most seriously. It is here proposed that the value of his moral, but by no means pedantic, system of the arts can only be appreciated if we too (guided, perhaps, by Sir Philip Sidney’s Defense of Poetry) will reconsider the justice of these charges. Junius’ work gains a particular significance because it was written at the court of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel who was, next to the king, the greatest collector of works of art and antiquities in England. Arundel’s love of art was not a mere passion but an aspect of his comprehension of his grandeur. His purpose was unquestionably informed by Castiglione’s Courtier, whose book also is a guide to the better understanding of Junius’ argument concerning the blessings of art in the life of a nation. The essay also reviews, in passing, the connection of Junius to the Leiden school of humanistic studies, notably of his father, Franciscus Junius the Elder, and of J. G. Vossius, his brother in law, who also was his mentor. It continues with a consideration of the changing purposes of archaeological studies which brought about the decline and eventually the eclipse of the reputation of Junius’ work. These changes are traced to Winckelmann’s and Lessing’s (somewhat conflicting) objections to some of the premises of Junius’ work and the credibility of certain of his best witnesses from antiquity itself. In the end his view of history and the redeeming role of art in a timeless structure of truth is confronted with the truths of modern historicism which, at best, will look upon Junius’ educational hopes (if it deigns to notice them) as a time-bound, if beautiful, illusion.
Among the works of art considered in the essay are Van Dyck’s « Madagascar Portrait» in Vienna and its copy at Knole, Adriaen van der Werffs frontispiece to the 1694 edition of De Pictura Veterum, Rembrandt’s «Aristotle with the Head of Homer», and Rubens «Outbreak of War». Junius’ two books on art (edited and, in part, translated by the late Keith Aldrich, Raina Fehl, and the writer of this essay), will be published in 1982–1983 by the University of California Press under the collective title The Literature of Classical Art.
Brunelleschi and Hope
The essay considers the influence of Greek art and culture on Tuscan art in the first decades of the 1500s. In this regard is stressed the importance of Emanuele Crisolora, the first teacher of Greek and translator of Plato in Florence, and Florentine art is looked at in the light of his memoirs, his method of translation and his comparisons. Moreover Brunelleschi (in the Burla del Grasso) would seem to have developed a principle from Plato’s Republic, and by imposing a privileged point of view, a principle of Proclus. However the perspective tables, in which the basis of Plotinus’ aesthetics are involved, are related to Crisolora’s stay in Rome (1411). On this visit are also seen to depend the increasing importance of Roman antiquities for the Florentines and even the inspiration for the Cupola of the Cathedral in Florence. However for Sienese painters like Sassetta, Giovanni di Paolo, Sano di Pietro, we are dealing with the influence of contemporary Byzantine art. The themes and stylistic features of Paolo Uc-cello and Piero della Francesca are seen to be derived from a late Byzantine monument – the Arcadius column.
In the connection with Greek culture which seems to have so much interested Brunelleschi, the hypothesis is made that we understand the Cantoria by Luca della Robbia as an expression of harmony and the one by Donatello of melody.
The article analyses the importance of the newly discovered documents found in the Archivio di Stato in Milan concerning Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks. Before considering the bearing of the new documents on the problem of the two versions (in Paris and in London), the author summarises the existing situation of research on this problem. From the following analysis of all documents and the painted versions it is to be concluded that the new docu-ments probably refer to a third painting, and not to the picture now in London.
The Inlay-Work of the Choir-Loft in S. Maria Maggiore in Bergamo: The Theme of Fortune and Lorenzo Lotto
In this short essay the author seeks to find the cultural and thematic link between certain wood inlays made between 1524 and 1532 in Bergamo, from designs by Lorenzo Lotto. The theme of Fortune, inextricably connected with the philosophy of Nosce te ipsum (know thyself) is just one aspect of the complex and changing cultural panorama of the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. Lotto’s position as regards these themes seems to be — as always — in contrast with the official values and he proposes to search for a deeper, more human relationship with reality.
Focusing on the Rape of Europa in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, this paper proposes to address the problem of interpreting Titian’s brushwork. Il colorito alla veneziana, as it evolved in the later Cinquecento, implies the act of coloring, the manipulation of pigment, the operation of the brush. Characterized by an open pictorial structure, a fabric of individuated brush strokes, colorito defines itself by its process, achieving its most persuasive expression in the later paintings of Titian. To what extent can we pretend to understand that eloquence, to comprehend its intention, to measure the presumably expressive nuances of brushwork against legitimately Cinquecento standards? Must we dissociate the mimetic im-pulse of the stroke, its referential function, from its self-expression? Can we legitimately claim meaning for the brushwork itself — that is, for ‘arte? Is there a meaning initiating in the artist, a meaning that may itself be mediated by the imitated subject matter but that resides essentially in the visible traces of the painter’s gesture, meaning in which we hear his own voice?
The Patronising of Sculpture in the 19th Century. A Cultural-Historical Approach to Qualitative Judgements for Research
As part of his studies on the patronage of sculpture from the 18th to the 20th centuries, the author here deals more specifically with the 19th century. In the literature the quality of the sculptures of this century is often said to be poor. The lack of magnanimous patronage has often been said to be the cause of this. Both the quality of the works and the problem of pa-tronage undergo critical analysis here. The possibility of a more nuanced and complex approach for further research is pointed out.
The problem of reciprocal influence of works of art is of fundamental significance for a theory of art. Using the research of George Kubler, O. Ore, G. Hermeren, Mieczysław Poręb-ski and others, we suggest a wide use of a model of these influences of works of art based on the mathematical theory of directed graphs. It’s worth mentioning that art historians were us-ing without knowing it models of influences already in the 19th century. To understand our model it has been necessary to invent new terminology, for example: «power of similarity», «rivers and streams of influences» and «reconstructed overgraphs of influences». The pre-sented model may be useful in any historical study.
From Pessac to Architecturology
The transformations carried out by the inhabitants of Pessac near Bordeaux on the build-ings in the district designed by Le Corbusier from 1925 to 1927, have been in contrast with some «key points» of the modern architecture advocated by the architect. This in reaction to Le Corbusier’s authoritarianism. On the other hand one of these key pointsis the "free plan" which by definition means transformability inherent in the very conception of these buildings. Further it would help to find out to what extent the architect, the user of the buildings, or the plan itself are free, as the case may be. Such a question leads to the conclusion that the case of Pessac can be approached not so much on the basis of some universal doctrine or other of space or of abstract architecture, but rather by a theoretical questioning, an architecturology, capable of specifying concepts above and beyond doctrinal controversies.
The author tries to prove that the notion of synthetic art can be discussed with the help of the semiotic notion of Complex system and multi-code messages. A synthesis does not in-volve total systems, but only constituents of these systems – some of the subsystems; combi-nation of the subsystems constitutes a new whole. Two co-ordinate and parallel lines overlap and participate in this process: the destruction of the primary systems involved in the synthe-sis, and the construction of the new systems.
The ordering of the selected subsystems into a new signifying whole may occur in two ways. The first one assumes the simple physical absence of the subsystems not belonging to the new whole. The other way is due mainly to the fact that the particular subsystems of a given work are neither «turned down» nor «off» by the material specific procedures resulting in a palpable effect. Such subsystems are still physically present, but they do not participate in the act of communication. The author – supporting her analyses by examples from music and film – tries to find the laws governing the relations of subsystems: the law of permeability of structure, the law of the alternation of a function and two kinds of special relation: relation of domination and of neutrality.
The writer presents the essence of the iconographic-iconological method (in Erwin Panof-sky’s interpretation) and draws our attention to the unclear methodological status of iconogra-phy (there are some who consider it «a general science about visual message», according to others it is a method, a technique).
In the second part the writer relates and draws conclusions from previous iconographic analyses (by Christian Metz, Roland Barthes, Erwin Panofsky, Linda Williams). The conclu-sion is the conviction that iconographic studies in the field of film are possible only in the case of:
a) strongly codified works, supplied with artificially created and commonly accepted sym-bolism,
b) specific series of kinds and genres (Wild West films, fables, morality films, «films of the cape and sword»),
c) the works of distinct cultural circles, requiring special heuristics.
In other cases the efficacy of iconography as a method «wains», the distinguishing of level becomes an incoherent confusion of several different analytic techniques.
Milos Forman’s Cuckoo’s Nest belongs to the category of allegorical compositions, the value of which consists in the almost perfect balance established in them between ideas and actual reality represented. When ideas prevail the work becomes artificial, and turns into the proclamation of theses which often are more convincing in the form of theoretical statements. When action, representation of reality and characterization prevail, the idea gets lost – as in life, when entropy blurs the effectiveness of regularity. Forman achieved in a masterly way a balance between symbolism and narrative: allegory has been clad in a human shape, theses turned into a drama.
The author, an art historian, analyses the composition and symbolism of this famous film of Milos Forman.