This is the 19th volume in the "Aesthetics Lexicon" series inaugurated in 1995 under the direction of Remo Bodei. The series includes three sections respectively dedicated to the various arts, the history of aesthetics, and its key concepts. This new entry on the aesthetics of painting is part of the section on the arts, which already includes volumes by Fubini on music, Masiero on architecture, Pezzella on motion pictures and Francalanci on the aesthetics of objects.
Since its very beginnings philosophy has dictated that thought occurs through reasoning with concepts and that the soul entertains ideas. In Plato's ideal city there is no room for the friends of pictures - that is, painters - in that they merely create appearances. Notwithstanding that early exile, painting has never ceased to engage philosophy: it opposes the disembodied vision of ideas via the spirit's eye to the concrete vision of lines and colours via the body's eye. Painting is thus a constant stimulus that over the ages has interacted and competed with thought in order to establish authentic vision and new forms of thinking. The book traces the history of this interaction and discusses the answers that philosophers have sought in theories of aesthetics and the basic issues that since ancient times continue to transpire: imitation and expression, design and colour, form and content, figurative representation and abstraction. In the 20th century, finally, the rehabilitation of body and image has entailed a major rethinking, and philosophers have found in formerly marginalised painters a new home for their thought.
Andrea Pinotti teaches Aesthetics at the University of Milan.
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