Storia dell’Arte 132, Aprile -Agosto 2012
James L. Hutson Jr.
Un modo più chiaro: Francesco Scannelli and the Physiology of Style
The author investigates the Seicento response to the stylistic change of Guercino, who later abandoned emilian naturalism and embraced a classicizing manner. The evolution was discussed and criticized by the physician-connoisseur Francesco Scannelli in his Il Microcosmo della pittura (1657). Through an understanding of Scannelli’s alternate art-theoretical position, the criticisms leveled against the move towards un modo più chiaro in the oeuvres of the Carracci pupils cannot be understood reductively as mere distaste for the classical Roman school. Instead, through an interdisciplinary investigation into early modern treatments of aging and the processes by which artists attempted to overcome its deteriorating effects, Scannelli actually attempts to refute the success of the idea, leading to Neoplatonic transcendence.