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Lionello Venturis primitivism and the French milieu

Grant number: 14/25973-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): July 15, 2015
Effective date (End): July 14, 2016
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Art Fundamentals and Criticism
Principal researcher:Cássio da Silva Fernandes
Grantee:Fernanda Ferreira Marinho Camara
Supervisor abroad: Monica Preti
Home Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Musée du Louvre, France  
Associated to the scholarship:13/19366-5 - Vertiginous perspectives in reformulations of history: the primitive, the savage and the cannibal., BP.PD

Abstract

The project "Lionello Venturi's primitivism and the French milieu" intends to investigate the connections between the formulation of French modernism and "Il gusto dei primitivi". Venturi's book, published for the first time in 1926, demonstrated an innovative interpretation of the primitive masters. An interpretation that was distant from the notion of incipience that was still prevalent in the Italian art historiography of that time. As far Venturi's perspective was disconnected from the Italian historiography tendencies, it got closer to the modern cultural movements experienced in the French environment. Paris was in the venturian criticism the antithesis of the Italian fascists tendencies, and the primitives masters were the new paradigm in the history of art. Antifascism and anticlassicism are two prerogatives that clarify "Il gusto dei primitivi" and make evident the franco-centrism that characterizes the author's critical thinking. The French Impressionism is the key to understand Venturi's book. The author incites us to look at Giotto through Cézanne's aesthetic, for instance. However, this project intends to investigate not only the consequences of the Impressionism in the Italian historiography of art but also intends to investigate how the Italian primitives became representative of an alternative French culture's taste, symbolizing the identity of the modern culture. The exhibition about the "écoles primitives" held on the Musée du Louvre in 1814 was the first exhibition dedicated to the primitive masters in France; the result of Dominique-Viant Denon's mission in Italy during the year 1811. While the Italian art historiography of the beginning of the XX century was still very much connected to the Vasarian legacy - that considered the primitives through a chronological classification of the evolution of forms - in France the work of the primitive masters were not only considered as the incubator of the perfect form, but also as a potentiality of an anticlassical aesthetic. By analyzing the Louvre's exhibition, we intend, therefore, to understand the transformations of the concept of primitive: from the Vasarian chronology construction to an emblem of modernity. In other words, we intend to investigate on the one hand how France contributed to the historiography revision of the Italian Renaissance and, on the other hand, how the franco-centrism of Venturi's proposal incited a reorganization of art historic classifications. (AU)

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