Storia dell’arte 143-145, 2016
Sull’eloquenza dei colori. Spigolature letterarie sulla ritrattistica rinascimentale
All the colors we perceive are obtained from the mixture of three colors called “primary”. Main or primary colors are a limited set of colors from which any other color can be obtained. The primary colors can be additive or subtractive, depending on the technical combination. Since ancient times, colors aroused both scientific and literary interests. In this respect, in Venice in the period between the sixteenth and eighteenth century, short treatises, texts, and essays about the topic of the colors, all well known only in the Venetian area, were edited following the publication of the De coloribus attributed to Aristotele and edited by Aldo Manuzio in 1497. The editions of the “trattatelli” by Fulvio Pellegrino Morato, Ludovico Dolce and Paolo Pino investigate the meaning and the practice of colors in a dialogical form. Color, is a fundamental element of Venetian aesthetics, almost kept within the secrets of painting. These little books became an anticipation of the Italian etiquettes, on the ways and manners in which one confronts and dialogues with others. Color in the discourse and in the interpretation, not only of the dress, becomes a way of displaying personal freedom and identity, not excluding seduction. The present study investigates the possibility of relating, precisely through these treatises, the symbolism of colors in the broad context of the portraiture of the period.