Athens Journal of Humanities and Arts
The relative sophistication of artists in the early modern era is contested, especially with regards to their educational backgrounds. On one hand, Dempsey-esque intellectual history is vested in touting the structured, literary curricula in art-educational institutions; while on the other, a complete rejection of the “artist-philosopher” as historical fiction seeks to undermine this hegemonic construct. This study argues that the lack of early formal education in the cases of artist like Annibale Carracci and Nicolas Poussin, who, unlike Peter Paul Rubens, did not have a firm foundation in the classics and languages that would allow them to engage directly with source material, would later be supplemented through their relationships with literary figures in the circles of Torquato Tasso, Giambattista Marino, and the Accademia dei Gelati. In addition to such relationships, informal exchanges, gatherings, and supplemental materials like Giovanni Paolo Gallucci’s Della Simmetria could be called upon when treating poetic subjects. With intimate knowledge of vernacular poetry, literati themselves participating in lectures and studio visits, and, finally, quick reference guides for subject matter, these artists were able to produce works that spoke to both poetic and artistic theory of the day, as one naturally informed the other.
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Hutson, James, "Li pittori parlano con l’opere: Visualizing Poetry in Practice in Early Modern Italian Art" (2021). Faculty Scholarship. 298.