Bellori Edition

Giovan Pietro Bellori's The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors, and Architects published in 1672 is one of the most important and influential source texts of the 17th century. The unbroken research interest proofs the undisputed significance of Bellori's writings long appreciated both for its literary complexity and as a source for methodological and art-historiographical research as much as for its documentary qualities.

The critical bilingual edition of the biographies promoted by the research department of Tristan Weddigen now makes a German translation of the biographies available for the first time. It is printed by the Wallstein publishing house in 13 successive volumes beginning in 2018. The critical edition allows a juxtaposition with the Italian original and offers expert commentary on the latest research findings with an accompanying essay to each of the biographies examining their historiographical, art-theoretical and source-critical content.

The Bellori edition is the result of a research project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). Each member of the expert working group was responsible for writing the annotation to one or more of the biographies. The intensive work on the translation, some of which carried out by the researchers themselves, may be considered the heuristic basis of this edition. The essays and commentary reflect the latest research findings into Bellori's language, its terminology and semantic complexity. The edition identifies internal correlations among the different Vite and questions the research theorem that defines Bellori as the theoretician of the classical current within the Roman Seicento.

Giovan Pietro Bellori, L'Idea del pittore, dello scultore e dell'architetto. Die Idee des Malers, des Bildhauers und des Architekten

Giovan Pietro Bellori, L'Idea del pittore, dello scultore e dell'architetto. Die Idee des Malers, des Bildhauers und des Architekten

ed. and annotated by Elisabeth Oy-Marra in collaboration with Sabrina Leps, introduction and essay by Elisabeth Oy-Marra, transl. by Anja Brug and Irina Schmiedel in collaboration with Ulrike Tarnow.

232 pages, 17, with colored illustrations, bound.
Wallstein Verlag: Göttingen 2018.
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3365-9 € 24,00

The Idea edition is the prelude to the critical Bellori edition. It begins with a biographical overview of Giovan Pietro Bellori and the genesis of the Vite by Elisabeth Oy-Marra. In her essay, she examines the specific reception history of the Idea and addresses the topics of idea-stimulated imitation discussed by Bellori, as well as his critique of 'naturalist' trends in the arts of his time.

Under the title Idea, Bellori prefaced his twelve Vite with a philosophical art-theoretical text that had originally been conceived as a speech to the Roman Academy of the Arts, the Accademia di San Luca. The text primarily owes its fame to Erwin Panofsky who, in his eponymous book Idea of 1924, interpreted it as the final statement as well as the turning point in the discourse on the Platonic idea in the Renaissance. With his characterization of Bellori's Idea as the Magna Carta of Classicism, Panofsky continues to influence the critical interpretation of Bellori's œuvre to this day.

Giovan Pietro Bellori, Vita di Michelangelo Merigi da Caravaggio. Das Leben des Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Giovan Pietro Bellori, Vita di Michelangelo Merigi da Caravaggio. Das Leben des Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Giovan Pietro Bellori, Vita di Michelangelo Merigi da Caravaggio. Das Leben des Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Transl., ed., commented and with an essay by Valeska von Rosen, transl. and commentary in collaboration with Anja Brug and Isabell Franconi.

ca. 192 pages, ca. 14, with colored illustrations, bound.
Wallstein Verlag: Göttingen 2018.
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3366-6, ca. € 24,00

The biography of the painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), which marked the beginning of Bellori's work on his Vite, saw him confronted with the challenging task of describing Caravaggio's radical stylistic 'novelty' and his deliberate break with the traditions of painting. Which terminology is adequate for the painter's imagery, he asks, and which metaphors most appropriate? And, last but not least, which literary method should be chosen for the composition of the biography: one aimed at neutrality, or one leaning more closely towards the medium of art criticism?

In her essay, Valeska von Rosen shows that Bellori's Caravaggio Vita was born of an urge to adequately reflect an unusual artistic operare, as the author calls it, and not primarily for the purpose of evaluating it in a critical sense. Bellori's intent was to couch Caravaggio's unusual conception of artistic mimesis in theoretical and conceptual terms, to develop a succinct terminology for this purpose, and to demonstrate its prerequisites in the discourse on ancient art. The actual portrayal of the artist's life consequently forms no more than the framework of this theoretical elaboration on art, which primarily strives to maintain descriptive neutrality and only then adopts a critical approach where the macrostructure of the Vite collection requires the painter to be diachronically positioned in Belloris history of the development of art.

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