Malarska narracja w świetle teorii francuskiej sztuki akademickiej. Antecedencje wolności artystycznej
Narrative painting in the light of the theory of French academic art. Antecedents of artistic freedom
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This article aims to provide an answer to the title based on advice propagated in the writings of French theorists of art, and on artistic practice in the circle of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. These reflections are centred on the writings of Nicolas Poussin, Hilaire Padera, Gian Pietro Bellori, and André Félibien, as well as on paintings discussed during lectures at the Paris Academy and treated as model solutions for the education of painters. The foundation for creating a painted version of any story is reading the literary source. As a result of his reflection on the text, the artist forms in his mind an idea of the future work, expressed in the preliminary sketch. During the execution of the planned composition, the history painter had to categorize and schematize the appearances of his protagonists, their poses, gestures and facial expressions, so that the viewer immediately knew what role the depicted character played in the scene. In keeping with the idea of “painterly discourse”, the history painter competed with the writer by using poses, gestures and facial expressions, instead of letters and words. Although theorists of art advocated that painters use natural movements and expressive means in moderation, paintings were dominated by a solemn rhetoric of gestures and facial expressions used to enhance the didactic function of the image. The Academy attempted to reconcile these two approaches to historical painting. The first required that art faithfully reproduce the written story. The second gave the artist a certain degree of freedom in the selection of elements considered appropriate to the depiction of the narrative, provided the choice was correctly made. The latter approach has dominated the academic practice of painting, allowing the painter to abridge the tale and create within the picture a kind of a résumé of the written story.
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