Le pitture del doni academico pellegrino


The rarity of the Pitture del Doni, previously lacking a modern edition, is in contrast with its extraordinary importance in understanding Renaissance culture and the vital interweaving of image and word, literary culture and artistic culture. Published for the first time in Padova in 1564 by Grazioso Percaccino, the work is a collection of the “inventions” devised by Doni to decorate a building to be erected in Arquà in honour of Petrarch: emblematic paintings, exempla, imprese and mottos contribute in a play of combinations to form a commemorative fabric and a moral dictate that was to have a profound influence on emblematic literature and subsequently figurative culture. While the entire text written by Doni became, for example, one of the favoured sources of Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia, it was actually put to pictorial use in the Sala della Gloria at Villa d’Este, where in 1566 Federico Zuccari painted Nobility, Glory, Fortune, Time, Magnanimity and Religion, faithfully following the “inventions” described in the Pitture.  Furthermore, the suspicion that Doni’s text is in actual fact a plagiarism of a version of Giulio Camillo’s Theatro creates new and interesting links with a cultural practice that profoundly shaped culture during the Cinquecento, the art of memory. The web of associations that attributes a precise meaning to each element in an image expands the dictate of ut pictura poesis to include the mechanisms of mnemonics, thus combining iconic and linguistic dimensions to serve a new organization of knowledge. For the first time, the text of the editio princeps is compared and studied with reference to the unpublished handwritten version of the work housed in the Vatican Library (1560), magnificently illustrated by Doni. The notes provide an opportunity to analyse the sources, emblematic culture and conceptism of the time.


Edited by Sonia Maffei
Price Euro 80,00

Naples, 2004


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