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De sculptura
Nuremberg Johannes Petreius 1542. - 4to., (47) p.l. Bound in modern boards; minor repair on t-p, library stamp of the University of Jena on a2; generally excellent. Rare early edition of this famous work on the aesthetic theory of the plastic arts, which inaugurated a new conception of art historical criticism. Schlosser, who likens De sculptura to Lessing’s Laokoon, thought very highly of Gaurico and begins his treatment of 16th century aesthetic theory with this work. The first edition, published in 1504, is considered the earliest of all treatises on the history of art. Midway between Alberti and Vasari, Gaurico's treatise documents the tremendous increase in cultural prestige which painting enjoyed during the fifteenth century: the incomparable outpouring of masterpieces that century witnessed stilled the old debates about the dignity of painting and its status as one of the liberal arts. This prestige is here reflected in art criticism, in its evolution away from a derivative form of natural philosophy (optics and applied physics) into a broader discipline, more in accord with a humanistic concept of culture, with its emphasis on history and informed evaluative judgement. Gaurico's treatise, devoted to bronze sculpture, is very much the culmination of this cultural shift. Although treating for the most part traditional technical questions (line, perspective etc.), he does so in a wide-ranging way. Its most notable contributions include the creation of a system of descriptive categories and a more formal consideration of physiognomy as a topic of aesthetic consideration. The work is also the principal source for many important biographical facts in the lives of artists. Gaurico's standard of taste is basically that of the cultivated humanist of the day with a penchant for stylish classicizing (Mantegna). The work first appeared in 1504 (Florence), and again in 1528 (Antwerp); it proved particularly popular in German-speaking countries, as this imprint from the home of Dürer attests. All early editions are quite rare. The work became an instant "classic" in aesthetics and was often anthologized into the 17th century. Pomponio Gaurico (1482-1530) was Prof. of Philology at the University of Naples, poet and humanist par excellence. His brother Luca was a celebrated mathematician, and made an influential Latin translation of Peckham's treatise on perspective. In the best Renaissance tradition, Pomponio had a reputation as a lady's man, and is believed to a have been murdered by the family of some scorned innamorata! * Schlosser, 235-239; M. Kemp, The Science of Art, pp. 40-41; R. Klein, "Pomponius Gauricus on Perspective," The Art Bulletin 43 (1961) 211-30. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Martayan Lan]
Last Found On: 2016-06-20           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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