Philipp P. Fehl
Decorum and Wit: The Poetry of Venetian Painting

Essays in the History of the Classical Tradition

  • Vienna 1992
  • 290 x 222 mm, hardback with dust jacket
  • 430 pages, 224 b&w illustrations
  • ISBN 3-900731-10-1

The union of poetry and painting in the work of the great Venetian painters is the theme linking the eighteen essays by Philipp P. Fehl, brought together in this book. The author’s careful study of individual works of art by Titian, Veronese, and the Tiepolos, among others, disposes once and for all of the notion that Venetian art is aesthetically sublime but intellectually shallow.

Philipp P. Fehl (1920-2000) was Professor of the History of Art at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Resident Associate at the University Center for Advanced Study. He was born in Vienna and during Second World Wr served with the US army. In 1946-47 he was an interrogator at the Nuremberg Trials. He studied art and its history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, at Stanford University and at the University of Chicago. Among his teachers were Peter H. von Blanckenhagen and Ulrich Middeldorf. Early in his career as an art historian he had the good fortune to attend the Brussels Art seminar, conducted by Erwin Panofsky on problems in Early Netherlandish art, and spend a year as a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London. His mentor was then and later Sir Ernst Gombrich. The focus of his career as a scholar was the history of the classical tradition in art and his publications have therefore ranged far afield, from the book on The Classical Monument (1972) to studies of the work of Antonio Canova and modern war memorials.



I Invisible Realms
Concert Champêtre
The Pesaro Madonna

II Poesie
The Bacchanals for Alfonso I d’Este
Titian’s Rape of Europa and Raphael’s Galatea
Beauty and the Historian of Art: Titian’s Venus and Adonis
The Camerino for Philip II
The Punishment of Marsyas

III Historie
Truth and Decorum Reconciled by Wit: Dürer, Titian and Pietro Aretino
Tintoretto’s Homage to Titian and Pietro Aretino
Titian’s Poetic Irony
Mourning for Lucretia

IV Sprezzatura
Veronese’s Christ and the Centurion
Veronese and the Inquisition
Veronese’s Decorum

V Imitazione
Rubens’ Bacchanals
Venus Verticordia

VI Memories
At Titian’s Tomb
Farewell to Jokers

Notes to the Text

List of Illustrations

Original Places of Publication