From Battleground to Pictorial Field. Representing War in the Italian Renaissance
This study aims to restore the centrality that battle painting held in the Cinquecento, when artistic practice and theory first articulated its modes of depiction. Contemporary treatises on art describe military scenes as a privileged venue for exploring fundamental pictorial problems and manipulating the dynamics of visual perception. While recommending the use of an exceptionally forceful style, they regard battle scenes as the embodiment of artistic excellence, both ancient and modern, and as the prototype of the powerfully affective image. Focusing on the nature of representational practice itself, rather than on the authenticity of the representation, this project foregrounds the perceptual and rhetorical implications of images of conflict. It explores the vital role that the genre played in the art-critical discourse of the time and investigates how the formal qualities of battle scenes engaged with broader issues of meaning, use, and reception.