Parution : Lorenzo Pericolo et Elisabeth Oy-Marra (dir.), Perfection, the Essence of Art and Architecture in Early Modern Europe, Turnout, Brepols, 2019

Whether a painting, a sculpture, or a building, works of art in early modern Europe must achieve the highest degree of perfection. If in the Middle Ages perfection is mostly perceived as a technical quality inherent in craftsmanship–a quality that can be judged according to often unspoken criteria agreed upon by the members of a guild–from the fifteenth century onwards perfection comes to incorporate a set of rhetorical and literary qualities originally extraneous to art making. Furthermore, perfection becomes a transcendent quality: something that cannot be measured only in terms of craftsmanship. In the Baroque period, perfection turns into obsession as a result of the emergence of historical models of artistic evolution in which perfection is already historically embodied–in the first place, Vasari’s investiture of Michelangelo as a universal canon for painting, sculpture, and architecture. This book aims to define, analyze, and reassess the concept of perfection in the arts and architecture of early modern Europe. What is perfection? What makes a work of art unique, emblematic, or irreplaceable? Does perfection necessarily relate to individuality? Is the perfect work connate with or independent from its author? Can perfection be reproduced or represented? How do artists react to perfection? How do post-Vasarian models of art history come to terms with perfection? To what extent perfection in early modern Europe is the matter of rhetoric, literary theories, theology, and even scientific observation?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Measure, Number and Weight: Perfection in Medieval Art and Thought – Benjamin Zweig
  • Perfection as Rhetorical Techne and Aesthetic Ideal in the Renaissance Discourse on Art – Valeska von Rosen
  • Crafting Perfection: Leon Battista Alberti, Language, and the Art of Building – Dario Donetti
  • The Palindromic Logic of Dürer’s Double-Sided Gift – Shira Brisman
  • Michelangelo and la cosa mirabile – Victor I. Stoichita
  • Bronzino’s Beauty – Stuart Lingo
  • The Perfection of Pictorial Evidence – Klaus Krüger
  • The Renaissance Masterpiece: Giorgio Vasari on Perfection – Lorenzo Pericolo
  • Seeking Perfection: Scamozzi in Theory, Practice, and Posterity – Andrew Hopkins
  • Metaprints in Seventeenth-Century Antwerp – Caroline Fowler
  • Per natura capaci di ogni ornamento e perfezzione”: Nicolas Poussin and Perfection – Henry Keazor
  • The Limits of Perfection: Giovan Pietro Bellori on Celerità and Facilità – Elisabeth Oy-Marra
  • Passeri’s Prologue, the Paragone, and the Hardness of Sculpture – Estelle Lingo

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