Imprese were born as individual symbols of noblemen and courtiers, expressing their particular ambitions, deeds, virtues; thanks to their synthetic form – a highly schematic picture plus a laconic motto – these symbols were apt to be conveyed through different media, for display and circulation in different contexts. In Italy, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many treatises were devoted to the art of devising imprese. In some treatises, describing Italian imprese as the apex of symbolic forms, were elaborated over-complexified theories responding to the question of how to formulate a conceit which had to be at once individual and general, unique and paradigmatic, obscure and yet addessable to a wider audience. Later on, the italian treateses about imprese were known in other countries and the compelling tie between imprese and individual bearer was loosened; this form became free to fulfil the role of visual synthesis of a universal message, as a moral precept or a truth of faith. Form and content of the impresa never became stable, never stopped changing. The paper presents some works that show a fruitful series of transformations and contaminations with other emblematic genres, so that the reputation of the ‘Italian’ genre of the impresa would survive all over Europe through the emblems.

Imprese as emblems: the European Reputation of an 'Italian' Genre

ARBIZZONI ARTUSI, GUIDO
2007

Abstract

Imprese were born as individual symbols of noblemen and courtiers, expressing their particular ambitions, deeds, virtues; thanks to their synthetic form – a highly schematic picture plus a laconic motto – these symbols were apt to be conveyed through different media, for display and circulation in different contexts. In Italy, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many treatises were devoted to the art of devising imprese. In some treatises, describing Italian imprese as the apex of symbolic forms, were elaborated over-complexified theories responding to the question of how to formulate a conceit which had to be at once individual and general, unique and paradigmatic, obscure and yet addessable to a wider audience. Later on, the italian treateses about imprese were known in other countries and the compelling tie between imprese and individual bearer was loosened; this form became free to fulfil the role of visual synthesis of a universal message, as a moral precept or a truth of faith. Form and content of the impresa never became stable, never stopped changing. The paper presents some works that show a fruitful series of transformations and contaminations with other emblematic genres, so that the reputation of the ‘Italian’ genre of the impresa would survive all over Europe through the emblems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11576/1889841
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