These comparisons with poetry are in continuity with the neoclassical theories which adapted the Longinian sublime to painting
based on the utpicturapoesis principle. Michelangelo’s art demonstrates that a pictorial sublime is possible; but this sublime is conceived as an ‘emulation’ of poetry, which remains the superior art,
because it is less mechanical and more intellectual.
At the same time, Reynolds does reflect about a sublimity
that would be inherent to the pictorial medium, as his comments
about Michelangelo’s ‘mechanick excellence’ imply. In
granted the utpicturapoesis principle and attempts
to adapt Longinus’ rhetorical sublime to the theory of painting.
Nevertheless, Barry’s argument highlights the idea of a rivalry
between the arts, and underlines a ‘force’ and a ‘vehemence’ which
may be found in frightening representations of divine retribution.
His examples include, once again, Poussin’s Deluge, but also his
Plague at Ashod, as well as representations of divine punishment or
revelation by Raphael. It is clear that he was still trying to reconcile
a thematics of terror with academic practice, still
Towards a French eighteenth-century criticism of the image of pain
’s aesthetics (of theatre, music, and the fine arts)
is extensive. The most prominent surveys of Diderot’s development of a theory
of painting and the aesthetic beholder are Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality. Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1980), Hubertus Kohle, UtPicturaPoesis non erit:
Denis Diderots Kunstbegriff (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1989) and Jean
Starobinski, Diderot dans l’espace des peintres, suivi de le sacrifice en rêve
(Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1991) and, most recently
William Roscoe, civic myths and the institutionalisation of urban culture
Influence on the Present State of Society (Liverpool, 1817).
41 J. Barrell, The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt (London, 1986),
42 W. Roscoe, ‘On the Comparative Excellence of the Science and Arts, by Mr William
Roscoe Communicated’, Memoirs of the Society at Manchester, 3 (1787), 244–59, esp.
43 H. T. Swedenberg, The Theory of the Epic in England, 1650–1800 (New York, 1972);
R. Lee, ‘UtPicturaPoesis: The Humanistic Theory of Painting’, Art Bulletin, 22
44 Barrell, Political Theory, 19–20.
45 J. Brewer, The
, in The Seasons ,
pp. 2–57. See Chapter 5 , pp. 212–3, for a
discussion of Thomson’s descriptions of subjective, variable perception in The Seasons .
A number of critics have dealt with the accuracy of Kent’s
illustration: Michèle Plaisant notes that, with the influence of Newton apparent
throughout The Seasons , Kent’s choice of the rainbow for the engraving is no
coincidence. Michèle Plaisant, ‘“Utpicturapoesis”: lumière et ombres dans les Saisons de Thomson
status: Donne juxtaposes his own poem as a picture (Horace’s utpicturapoesis ) with ‘Others’ who ‘at the porches and entries of their buildings set their arms’ (lines 1–2) – likely an evocation of the opening line of the Aeneid , ‘I sing of arms, and the man’. 42 Donne’s mockery of the epic tradition continues when he toys with the idea of poetic imitation as his cardinal methodology: ‘I have no purpose to come into any man’s debt. … If I do borrow anything of antiquity, … you shall still find me to acknowledge it’ (lines 15–18) – an acknowledgement that is not
art overcomes its fixity and embraces the
movement characteristic of real life. The ancient principle utpicturapoesis is thus updated to read, ‘out of a painting, cinema’.
At the same time, Rohmer reminds us that this archaic moving image, like the
two-dimensional canvas, is bounded by the frame. All shots in the film
featuring Jean-Baptiste Marot’s painted exteriors are taken from a
fixed angle, with changes in scale
like a missed metatheatrical opportunity. On a basic level, it might be
argued that this choice is motivated by practical limitations such as
the size of the cast. To some extent playwrights’ focus on
individual visual artists can also be explained by the combined
influence of the discourse of utpicturapoesis and the
paragone debates, both of which invite comparisons between a
Shakespearean paradox that ‘There’s language in her
eye’ [ Troilus, 4,5,55 ]. Joel Finemann called this
verbalization of vision ‘Shakespeare’s Perjur’d
Eye’, and described the Sonnets as a systematic revolt against
the official literary doctrine of utpicturapoesis , in which
‘poetry based on visual likeness’ is made to give way to
‘poetry based on verbal difference’. After the Sonnets
Botany and sexual anxiety in the late eighteenth century
‘diverges from the standard romantic model of poetic
reflections on painting … and … moves towards the
depictions of an alternative “feminine
accomplishment”’, see Jacqueline M. Labbe, ‘Every
Poet Her Own Drawing Master: Charlotte Smith, Anna Seward and utpicturapoesis’, in Thomas Woodman (ed.), Early
Romantic Perspectives in British Poetry From Pope to