Ronsard's Contentious Sisters
The Paragone between Poetry and Painting in the Works of Pierre de Ronsard
By Roberto Campo
278 pp., 6 x 9, 20 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-9261-9
Published: January 1998
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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Romance Studies
This book examines Ronsard's participation in the heated paragone debate between poets and painters: the Renaissance contest for superiority in the ranking of the arts that emerged in counterpoint to the parity-centered, pseudo-Horatian principle of ut pictura poesis ("as is painting, so is poetry"). The book explores issues that, despite their importance throughout Ronsard's poetry and the writings of leading paragone theorists such as Leone Battista Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci, have remained largely unnoticed. In broadest terms, Roberto Campo investigates the poet's notions about the differences between poems and pictures. More precisely, it examines Ronsard’s views on two fundamental preoccupations of the theoretical and practical discussions about the arts during the Renaissance: which mode of expression, word or image, can more accurately and meaningfully represent natural realities and abstract celestial truths; and thus, whose art, the poet's or the painter's, holds the highest station in the hierarchy of human creative endeavor?
"Campo’s well researched and thoroughly documented study . . . [is] a very useful and welcome tool for serious students of Ronsard."--Renaissance Quarterly