The Notion of “Ponderazione” in Italian Renaissance Art Theory
Etienne Jollet is Professor of Early Modern Art History at the University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has published: Watteau. Les fêtes galantes (1994); Chardin. La vie silencieuse (1995); Jean et François Clouet (1997); Figures de la pesanteur. Fragonard, Newton et les hasards de l’escarpolette (1998); La Font de Saint-Yenne. Œuvre critique (2002); La Nature morte et la place des choses. L’objet et son lieu dans l’art occidental (2007); the French translation and presentation of Alois Riegl’s Netherlandish Group Painting (2007); La Figure et le Fond. Les monuments publics aux rois de France à l’époque modern (Genève, Droz, forthcoming).
At I Tatti, Etienne Jollet will prepare the English translation of his book about gravity in painting in the context of Newtonianism in eighteenth-century France (Zone Books, NY). More specifically, he will work on the notion of ponderazione (balance) in discourses on the visual arts during the Italian Renaissance and especially in Leonardo da Vinci’s texts. This notion, which would become so important in the subsequent centuries as one of the basic features of verisimilitude in Western art, has to be situated among other notions (bilico, contrapposto) but also in its relationship, as belonging to a physical conception dominated by a play among forces (statics), with the geometrical paradigm of perspective (developed at the same time), since they deal with a common issue: the relationship to the ground.