The established view of sixteenth-century art criticism supposes that a major conflict lies between Venetian colore and the Florentine tradition of disegno.1 Lately, this view has been questioned on two counts: first, that the opposition is really a seventeenth-century construct, and second, that the Renaissance issues revolve around natural and artificial varietà.2 Apparently even more fundamental issues are involved. This essay addresses epistemological conflicts concerning the proper classification of painting, sculpture, and architecture implicit in Renaissance art criticism. The underlying problem can be stated in the following way: how does one select criteria to judge the excellence of artistic productions if the excellence of each individual art depends on the discipline which establishes principles for its subordinates?


Sixteenth Century Artistic Procedure Artistic Issue Rhetorical Tradition Courtauld Institute 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

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  • Claire J. Farago

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