Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth: Vico and Neapolitan Painting (Essays in the Arts)

Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth: Vico and Neapolitan Painting (Essays in the Arts)

Malcolm Bull

Language: English

Pages: 154


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Can painting transform philosophy? In Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth, Malcolm Bull looks at Neapolitan art around 1700 through the eyes of the philosopher Giambattista Vico. Surrounded by extravagant examples of late Baroque painting by artists like Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena, Vico concluded that human truth was a product of the imagination. Truth was not something that could be observed: instead, it was something made in the way that paintings were made--through the exercise of fantasy.

Juxtaposing paintings and texts, Bull presents the masterpieces of late Baroque painting in early eighteenth-century Naples from an entirely new perspective. Revealing the close connections between the arguments of the philosophers and the arguments of the painters, he shows how Vico drew on both in his influential philosophy of history, The New Science. Bull suggests that painting can serve not just as an illustration for philosophical arguments, but also as the model for them--that painting itself has sometimes been a form of epistemological experiment, and that, perhaps surprisingly, the Neapolitan Baroque may have been one of the routes through which modern consciousness was formed.

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excluding from one perfect body the imperfect body parts of all the models. The steps that lead to the idea and the bodies falling from them are necessarily part of the same fantasy. 4.5. Francesco Solimena, Expulsion of Heliodorus, Gesù Nuovo, Naples (Photo: Luciano Pedicini). Establishing an ideal by exclusion from it is a double movement that operates in many Neapolitan contexts, and in a city said to be a “paradise inhabited by devils,”25 imagining perfection was often a form of exorcism.

Science, 192. 19. Nietzsche, Will to Power, � 1011. Index Accademia degli Arcadi, 91–92 Accademia Medina Coeli, 49 Accademia degli Uniti, 84 acutezza. See argutezza Ajello, Raffaello, 93 Alberti, Leon Battista, 6 Apelles, 6, 27 Apollonius of Tyana, 24, 29 Aretino, Pietro, 20 argutezza, 85, 88, 92; contrasted with acutezza, 82–84 Ariosto, Ludovico, 4, 18 Aristotle, 40 Assmann, Jan, xi atomism, 43–50, 54, 59, 73, 79, 91, 93 autopsia, 54–60, 73, 100 Bartoli, Daniello, xii–xiii, 47,

Naples, 2–3; atomism in, 49–54; collections of paintings in, 15–18, 54 Naples, locations and monuments in: Cathedral, 8, 11, 14, 50, 125; Certosa di San Martino, 50, 89; Girolamini, Largo dei, 10, 11, 11 fig. 1.4, 44; Gesù Nuovo, 114–15, 114 fig. 4.5; Girolamini, Chiesa dei, 10–13, 12 fig. 1.5, 15, 50–53, 115, 125; Monte dei Poveri Vergognosi, 9, 119; Nile, statue of, 7–8, 7 fig. 1.2; Palazzo Carafa di Columbrano, 8; Palazzo Filomarino della Rocca, 15, 54; Piazza San Lorenzo, 69; Pio Monte della

39, 42, 50, 61, 109, 116; and falsehood, 34, 37, 48, 60–61, 77–79, 82, 83–84, 85, 106–7, 109, 113, 122–25; and falsehood of painting, xi–xiii, 27–33, 54–55, 59, 87, 88, 111, 113, 116, 118, 120; human, xii, 17, 30–31, 33, 39, 41–42, 61, 95, 101, 104, 108–9, 111, 113, 116, 120; and the verisimilar, 40–42 Vaccaro, Andrea, 15, 51–54 Vaccaro, Domenico Antonio, 51, 101–2, 120; Christ Painting the Virgin, 116, 117 fig. 4.6; dipintura, 101–3, 102 fig. 4.1 Valletta, Giuseppe, 13, 14, 15, 49, 54, 56

the rhetorical rather than the visual arts, but he does appear to take something like it for granted whenever talking about painting. In his letter to Gherardo degli Angioli about the latter’s poetry, Vico praises him for choosing ideas exactly as painters do, depicting “the men and women that they portray on canvas after certain ideal models of theirs in such a way that the portraits represent the originals in a better light, but you can [still] say it is this or that person.”57 Bellori

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