Learning outcomes of the course unit
- Acquire some of the basic terminology for this subject.
- Acquire some of the basic concepts for this subject.
- Be able to explain the aesthetic theories of one or more writers.
- Be able to contrast and compare one or more writers on a common aesthetic theme.
- Be able to comprehend and comment on passages selected from classic texts covered in the course.
- Be able to explain in an independent and personal manner topics covered in the course.
The study of the philosophical discipline of aesthetics requires mastery of basic terminology and key concepts as well as familiarity with key writers and major trends in the history of philosophy.
Its two-fold theoretical-foundation and descriptive nature render aesthetics a “transversal” discipline which, by its very nature is open to interchange with other areas of knowledge.
This makes it possible to make “forays” , as required, into the areas of history, art criticism, psychology and sociology.
Course contents summary
Course title: The word and the image: poetry and painting in art theory and poetics
Poetry and painting are sibling art forms that, in striving for their own individual identity, owe much to the other. The conviction that painting is silent poetry and that poetry is painting that talks has its basis in Horace’s ut pictura poesis which, starting in the Renaissance, painters and art theoreticians turned into ut poesis pictura. Lessing’s separation of these two art forms in the 1700s did not cancel their mutual foundation. This is exemplified in the work of Mikel Dufrenne who, in comparing philosophers and artists, underscores the intersection between the word and the image.
Module A (5 credits): Historically-oriented, it is introductory in nature and, starting with Aristotle’s Poetics, it will examine visualisation of poetry closely connected to pictorial representation. The thought of Leonardo Da Vinci will form the basis for analysing the relationship between painting and poetry in the humanist-Renaissance tradition.
Module B (5 credits): more specialised, it will focus on the relationship between poetry and painting as seen in the eighteenth-century approach to fine arts, with special emphasis given to Batteux and Lessino. .
Unit A (5 credits)
Aristotele, Poetica, Greek-Italian text, ed. A. Barabino, con Introduzione di F. Montanari, Milano, Mondadori, 1999 (I ed.).
Aristotele, Retorica, Greek-Italian text, ed. M. Dorati, con Introduzione di F. Montanari, Milano, Mondadori, 1996 (I ed.); book III.
G. Lombardo, L?estetica antica, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002; Chap. III on Aristotle.
Leonardo, Trattato della pittura, Milano, TEA, 2000, Part one.
W. Tatarkiewicz, Storia dell?estetica, Torino, Einaudi, 1980, vol. III, chap. III.
Introductory seminar Plato: Art and poetry.
For those not attending class lectures: Rensselaer W. Lee, Ut pictura poesis. La teoria umanistica della pittura, Firenze, Sansoni, 1974, Introduzione, chap. I (L’imitazione), chap. II (L’invenzione), chap. III (L’espressione</ I>), chap. IV (Istruire e dilettare), chap. VIII (Virtu visiva).
Unit B (5 credits)
C. Batteux, Le Belle Arti ricondotte ad unico principio, Bologna, Il mulino, 1983.
G. E. Lessing, Laocoonte, Palermo, Aesthetica, 2000 (II ed. rev.).
E. Franzini, L?estetica del Settecento, Il mulino, Bologna, 1995, Introduzione, chap. I (Le radici dell’estetica settecentesca), chap. V (L’espressione e le belle! arti).
In-depth workshop on Riflessioni critiche sulla poesia e sulla la pittura by J.-B. Du Bos.
In-depth workshop on Scienza nuova by G. Vico.
For those not attending class lectures: chaps. II (La nascita dell?estetica) and IV (Gusto e genio) in the textbook by Franzini.
Traditional classroom lectures will be supplemented by an introductory seminar (Unit A) and two workshops (Unit B). This should provide students with the opportunity for direct participation and enhanced interchange between the course professor and students and among students themselves. Specifically, during the workshops, students will be asked for their own interpretation of texts.
The evaluation consists of an oral exam. Also taken into consideration will be class attendance and seminar and workshop participation.