Monday, August 30, 2010

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The uniqueness of the sign

"Simplicity and purity," as defined Winckelmann became actually the battle cry of the new currents of the centuries yet exalted innocence uncorrupted by them as "primitive", a term that means not only "undeveloped" but also "original", such as in the term "primitive Christianity ". And once again, Winckelmann was the one who taught these young artists and art lovers to recognize clear and sharp in outline the distinguishing mark of this spirit uncorrupted. Winckelmann had learned to appreciate this type of design by studying the ancient vase painting. In the painting on ceramics, he says, "the contours [...] must be marked quickly, at one stroke", also in the brush are nothing more than clay. In this technique does not changes or corrections are possible, but "the boundaries should remain as they are once set out." The safety of these ancient ceramists recalls Winckelmann Raphael, who was able to draw "entire shapes with a single continuous stroke of a pen." This feature allows us to distinguish the works of Raphael those students closest to him. But while these students, who are placed on the descending branch of the artistic evolution, they were no longer capable of such an undertaking, according to Winckelmann does not apply to the artists of the ascending line.

- Ernst H. Gombrich, Art and Progress, Laterza


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