This paper wishes to deal with the subject of painting in medieval philosophy. Painting (pictura) is a rather different term than image (imago): whereas the theological and philosophical implications of the latter are well-known, the relevance and significance of the first is still open to enquiry. A look at the usage of the two terms through the Lexicon latinitatis Medii Aevi shows that pictura is far less employed than imago and is definitely bound to fictio, in the sense that it signifies the process by which an image is practically made (sketched, painted, or sculpted). The first great practical usage of pictura in Middle Ages to possess deep theoretical implications is the writing of texts that are images in themselves, such as the famous Liber sanctae Crucis by Hrabanus Maurus. These “painted texts” rejoin the practical creative process of image-making, which the term pictura designates, with the theoretical creative processes of poetry or philosophy, and seem to point to the inextricability of the two. Whereas Anselm of Canterbury seems to be the first great medieval thinker to employ the term pictura in his works, the palm of the golden age of pictura definitely goes to the Twelfth century, which not coincidentally saw a great reprise of philosophical fictio in form of poetry. Bernardus Sylvestris made in his Cosmographia a comprehensive reflection on the status of poetry (in his case, philosophical poetry) as a quasi-divine fictio: the philosopher-poet, in his creation, basically not just “takes part” in God’s creation, but he actually re-creates it. But it is in the works of Alan of Lille-Tewkesbury that pictura reaches its highest standard. Not only Alan is the likely first great medieval thinker (and writer in general) to have described actual frescoes in his works, but pictura owns in his thought an extremely complex role and elevated status: pictura is less an imitation of truth (or reality) than the closest approximation to it. The term “approximation” should be here taken quite literally, as “coming closer”, “getting ever closer”, since Alan envisages a “voyage of Wisdom” in his most famous and important work, the philosophical poem (again, as in Bernardus) Anticlaudianus.
|Titolo:||“Pictura simia ueri”. Painting and Philosophy from Augustine to the Twelfth Century|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|