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Allegory of artlocked

  • Willem F. Lash

Extract

Type of allegorical representation of the artist’s conception of himself and his work. Many allegories of art owe their origin to attempts, in the 16th and 17th centuries, to classify the fine arts, especially painting, as artes liberales. An improvement in the status of art was to bring with it an improvement in the social standing of the artist. The allegory of art took many forms, which often appeared in combination with one another, including: personifications of Pictura or Disegno, sometimes in the role of inspirer in portraits of the artist; the conquest of Ignorantia and Invidia; and pictures of private galleries. The decoration of the artist’s own house—such as Vasari’s at Arezzo and Florence and Federico Zuccaro’s in Rome—provided an obvious opportunity to develop the theme (see Artist’s house).

The theme of the artist’s inspiration originates in Classical art: the inspiration of the poet by the muse, which is frequently depicted on sarcophagi. It was continued in Late Antique portraits of authors and in early Christian portraits of the Evangelists. A miniature in the Vienna ...

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