Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Figino, or On the Purpose of Painting

The Figino, or On the Purpose of Painting: Art Theory in the Late Renaissance

Ann Doyle-Anderson
Giancarlo Maiorino
  • Book Info
    The Figino, or On the Purpose of Painting
    Book Description:

    Of the many treatises written in Italy during the Counter-Reformation, none is more illustrative of the intellectual fermentation of the period than Comanini's work on the purpose of painting, Il Figino overo del fine della Pittura (1591). Although the importance of Il Figino has long been recognized, the text has remained largely inaccessible to many scholars throughout the world. This first complete English translation will make the work available to those readers for the first time.

    In Il Figino, Comanini addresses all of the most hotly debated aesthetic issues of the time, drawing on an array of classical, medieval and Renaissance sources, including Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Mazzoni, Tasso and Paleotti. The editor and translator provide copious notes which clarify Comanini's aesthetic and theological references, as well as a lucid introduction that places the issues and debates in context. Comanini's impressive erudition makes his treatise an excellent barometer of the state of scholarship in the Counter-Reformation era. This translation is a long-overdue addition to the field of Renaissance studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8127-9
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxii)

    Gregorio Comaniniʹs dialogueIl Figino overo del fine della Pittura(1591) offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of aesthetic theory and practice in a period characterized by a proliferation of treatises on art - indeed, an ʹage of criticism,ʹ as Baxter Hathaway has so aptly described the late sixteenth century.¹ As Comaniniʹs interlocutors attempt to resolve the issue of thefine, or ultimate purpose, of art, they draw extensively from classical and contemporary theory - Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Mazzoni, Tasso, Paleotti - in order to deal with the most discussed, and sometimes most hotly debated, aesthetic issues of their...

  5. Dedication
    (pp. 3-4)

    If in our present age we are to honour at all the ancient Parthian custom of never appearing before the king without a gift,¹ we should at least do so for the coronations and weddings of princes, when every expression of warm good wishes both confirms the loyalty of the well-wisher and contributes to the general happiness of the people. Our Lord has recently chosen Your Reverence for the ecclesiastical principality, and the wedding of consecration in which you marry your Church will soon take place. You have been my most special benefactor, particularly in my formative years, when you...

  6. The Figino, or On the Purpose of Painting
    (pp. 5-110)
    Father Ascanio Martinengo, Stefano Guazzo and Giovan Ambrogio Figino

    In the year of Our Lord 1590, Father Ascanio Martinengo, canon of the Lateran Council and at that time abbot of San Salvatore in Brescia, went to Milan. A gentleman renowned for his good breeding and urbanity as well as for his learning, Martinengo had been drawn there by Signor Ambrogio Figinoʹs reputation for excellence in the art of painting. The canon knew Figinoʹs works only through their resounding public acclaim, a familiarity he considered inadequate; he therefore wanted to meet this excellent, elegant painter and admire the paintings firsthand. Figinoʹs reputation had also attracted a gentleman from Pavia, Signor...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 111-146)
  8. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 147-148)
  9. Index
    (pp. 149-158)