Dissertation > Art > Painting > Painting theory. > History of the art of painting

The Italy Renaissance art theory of "imitation theory"

Author JiangTianFei
Tutor LiHong
School Nanjing Normal University
Course Fine Arts
Keywords Renaissance imitation theory masterpieces nature idea
CLC J209
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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This paper focus on the imitation theory in Italian Renaissance art theory. Imitation theory had occupied the central position of Western art theory for a long time, but had different connotations in its long course of development. Art theorists of the Italian Renaissance have revived the imitation theory discussed by the ancient writers, and have elaborated it deeply, enriching the connotation of the imitation theory. In accordance with the object of imitation, I divide the imitation theory of this period into three categories. The first meaning, which mainly discuss by Cennini and Vasari is that artists imitate the masterpieces of ancient or contemporary masters, and I centre on the difference between them, that Cennini advocated imitating one of the most outstanding master, while Vasari thought it should learn from various masters. The second is the imitating nature theory, advocated by Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci. They also took a different view about how to imitate nature. Alberti’s ideal imitation theory allowed to improve defect in nature, on the contrary, Leonardo’s literal imitation theory advocated imitate nature as a mirror. The third one refers to the imitation theory which artists should imitate some divine idea. Some artists affected by the neo-Platonic philosophy prevailed in the Medici circle at that time, and the objects of imitation shift from the experience of the world to the conceptual world. The primary theorist is Michelangelo. In this paper, I still spent some words to discuss their classical source, and the influence on later art theorists.

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