Umetnost renesančne kapitalistične države

  • Rebeka Vidrih
Ključne besede: renesančna teorija umetnosti, retorika, Leon Battista Alberti, Giorgio Vasari, renesančna država, Niccolò Machiavelli


This paper focuses on the time and place of the formation of the concept of »art«, on the Florentine Renaissance, and Leon Battista Alberti’s theorization of painting and architecture. In contrast to the generally accepted belief that the basic feature of Italian Renaissance painting is the perspectival depiction of space, this paper shows that capability of persuasion was what Alberti appreciated and emphasized the most in painting (perspective and imitation serve to narrate the story as convincingly as possible). This paper then demonstrates how Alberti based his theory of painting on the ancient theory of rhetoric, how he managed to transfer rhetoric from the field of prâksis to the field of poíesis, and how he thus defined and substantiated the importance of painting in the social and political life of the modern capitalist state (in which politics is no longer politics in the proper sense of the word, or the activity of a community of equals, but has become the fabrication of social order). Alberti’s theory of architecture deals primarily with the concept of the beautiful. In contrast to the generally accepted belief that the definition of beauty – as that organization of parts into a whole, in which one cannot take away or add anything without violating this beauty – is based on a mathematical principle, this paper shows that Alberti clearly defines the »beautiful« in terms of social classes. For him, creating the beautiful means producing a beautiful social order in which everyone takes his own place as defined by divine law. It is shown that the structure of Alberti’s concept of art (to persuade and control both the uneducated and educated) is in accordance with the Machiavelli’s type of bourgeois rule or principato civile (the rule of an individual wealthy person over the common people as well as his own »equals«). Alberti’s art theory is intended for magnates and not the common people; with the understanding of how art works he enables the magnates to make subtle distinctions between themselves as almost equals and, at the same time, he decisively unites them against the common people, who do not posses this understanding. Giorgio Vasari continued Alberti’s theory; he added sculpture to painting and architecture, and defined the great trinity of arti di disegno. He introduced the figure of an artist that clearly differentiates himself from an ordinary craftsman and holds a position in the society of (service to) the most distinguished persons. In addition, he gave art an actual existence in time (by writing its history) and space (as the co-founder of its institutional shelter; i.e., the academy). This article also highlights the fact that the concept of art developed in Florence – a city-state that played an important role in the early-capitalist world of the Renaissance, but never assumed a leading role like Venice and Genoa. »Art« was thus created through Florence’s efforts to demonstrate its equality and importance and, although it failed to achieve this in the field of the (capitalist) economy, it at least succeeded in the field of the (absolutist) state that was subordinate to this economy.


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Rebeka Vidrih
Rebeka Vidrih je podiplomska študentka na Oddelku za umetnostno zgodovino Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani. Ukvarja se s teorijo umetnosti in zgodovino umetnostnega zgodovinopisja.
Kako citirati
VidrihR. (2007). Umetnost renesančne kapitalistične države. Ars & Humanitas, 1(1), 153-184.