Feminine, Masculine, Grazia, non so che!

Feminine, Masculine, Grazia, non so che!

Christina will be our guide on this article. What an interesting way to end the semester! What follows are a few of my queries:

1. What is the paregone as you understand it?
2. What were Titian and Michelangelo “jousting” about during the period this article covers?
3. What did Castiglione mean by “a certain circumspect dissimulation” and how does this concept come into play in the visual arts?
4. What was the hierarchy of the senses during this period?
5. Can you think of art works in which the viewer is knowingly deceived by the artist? When paintings simulate sculpture, for example?
6. Many contemporary male artists seem to have intuited the content of Bronzino’s “Del pennello.” What is the general theme of his burlesque poem?
7. Discuss the idea of artifice itself as a vehicle for the erotic.
8. How would you define non so che?
9. How was mimesis viewed during the cinquecento?
10. Do you think the gender bending/blending of these works of art stem from Plato’s Symposium?
11. To seem rather than to be. Dangerous Beauty. The artifice of representation! Discuss

5 responses

  1. Question 4: Touch would have been high in the hierarchy of senses during this period. Lorenzo Ghiberti speaks of Hermaphrodite Sleeping: “In this statue there were many subtleties, and the eye perceived nothing [of them] if the hand had not found them by touch” (57). Thus, touch becomes a way to convey details that would not otherwise be noticed. Also, it seems that the period’s fascination with touch would privilege sculpture as a medium because of its tactile qualities. Jacobs mentions that, in this period, touch was considered “the most important sense in lovemaking” and that, due to this, sculpture was considered “the more effective catalyst for erotic reverie” (56). Thus, touch and tactile characteristics would have been important items for artists to consider when portraying such subject matters.

  2. I think this is the most interesting article we have read this semester, and at the same time, all of the questions seem intriguing that I don’t even know which one to start.

    For question 1, paregone, defined by the author, is “a long-time debate on the relative superiority of the arts and styles” and in this particular battle between Mich and Titian, it is whether disegno better than colorito. To my point of view, the paregone seems relevant to the development of techniques of art. For example, Leonardo da Vinci put great use of drawings and regarded drawing as the foundation of paintings. Thus, followers of Leonardo elevate the disegno. On the other hand, the use of oil provides larger range of colors and diminishes the blunt edges and contours, and thus painters like Titian are great fans of colorito. I think paregone is that in the prediction of the trend of the art world, painters who choose different paths are defending themselves and their choices.

    For question 5, of course, I was largely deceived by Michelangelo’s sistine chapel, where the architectural settings were all painted. I remembered I even asked Dr. Sadler if those are real. Nicely done Mich.

    For question 7 and maybe 8: I was mostly interested in her analysis on the renaissance representation of beauty that lies in the merging of genders. The feminine man and the manly women were thought to be beautiful and the Hermaphrodite itself just blew my mind. However, such thing do not exist in real life and as it reiterated several times in the paper that beauty does not come from one place. Artifice can quite satisfy our imagination. By combining the different parts of different people, one can create such things we want but could not possibly exist in real life. As for erotic, the non so che and the sexual part of the story, I think it is most about imagination, the imagination of sensual sense, the imagination of “touch” that excites people. Arts that has been long seen to free one’s imagination could bridge between the real life and the ineffable beauty.

  3. Question #5) I can think of a number of paintings where things are one thing but seem to be another. The two examples that come to mind immediately are Michelangelo’s painted “bronze” medallions and the “statues” on the thrones of the prophets/sibyls on the Sistine ceiling, and the painted “tapestries” that line the Sistine walls (Raphael?). However, although the viewer knows she’s being deceived, that does not in any way take away from the beauty of the work. In fact, I think it adds a sense of importance to those works because it shows off the skill of the artist(s) in their ability to make paint look like stone or metal.

  4. Sorry about the delayed response, I have been overwhelmed with graduate school applications. I had a huge deadline last night. Anyways I digress, there were a few things I wanted to say about the article. First of all, I wanted to start off by saying that I love how the competitive nature between Michelangelo and Titian dissolved into multiple categories “masculine/feminine, sight/ touch, and painting/sculpture” (63).

    Secondly, Dr. Sadler did you put up question number 11 for me? Well whether you did or not, your question allured me. While I was reading the article I kept thinking about previous scholarship I read for my research paper concerning Titian’s Danae. I cannot remember off of the top of my head who said this but someone argued that Titian’s Danae was a courtesan receiving payment from Zeus. This makes perfect sense since Zeus seduces her in the form of a golden shower. Additionally, in one of Titian’s depictions of Danae he actually visualizes a servant taking money from the golden shower. Tying this in with Jacobs’ depiction of the masculine female, we actually get a similar image to Veronica in Dangerous Beauty. Similarly to Titian’s depictions, Veronica is a rather masculine character, drawing on her femininity to raise her status, whereas her love interest Marco is far more stereotypically feminine than she is. While he desires to avoid politics, she immerses herself in them.

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