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Claire Farago on LexArt Words for Painting (1600-1750)

24 February 2020

The Truth in Painting

Review of:

Lexicographie artistique: forme, usages et enjeux dans l’Europe moderne, edited by Michèle-Caroline Heck with Marianne Freyssinet and Stéphanie Trouvé (Montepellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2018). 445 pages + b&w and colour illustrations.  24 euros  ISBN 978-2-36781-256-4

LexArt Words for Painting (France, Germany, England, the Netherlands, 1600-1750), edited by Michèle-Caroline Heck (Montepellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2018). 519 pages.  24 euros ISBN 978-2-36781-285-4

Claire Farago (University of Colorado Boulder and University of California Los Angeles 22/CF1

Abstract: Reviews two important contributions to the study of Early Modern Northern European art theoretical literature, a dictionary of art terms and an edited volume of case studies on writings on art published between 1600 and 1750 in German, French, English, and Dutch. These two volumes are the first systematic comparison of artistic vocabulary in four languages as the terms appeared in a range of publications indebted to Italian sources. They study the literature from c. 1604, when Karel Van Mander’s Schilder-boek was first published, until c. 1750, when Alexander Baumgarten introduced the term “aesthetics” to establish the analytical philosophy of art. Broadening the study to several countries and languages shows both the fragmentation of a received discourse and the emergence of common elements in an evolving, dynamic conception of painting.

Key words: Art terms, art theory, dictionary of art, drawing manuals, treatise on painting

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