Colour as an everyday means of communication can be discussed in generic terms, but artistic or architectural colors are a more complex argument which include the study of chromatic compositions, combinations of colored areas and the unexpected resultant effects that they generate. The problem of color subjectivity is a cultural problem that depends upon knowledge and education. Going back to the theory of colors contained in the fifteen century treatises and manuals makes it possible to understand the premises that subtended the architectural design of the monuments that marked the age of humanism. When read with focused attention Cennino Cennini’s Libro o trattato dell’arte, Ghiberti’s Commentari, Alberti’s two treatises on painting and architecture, Piero della Francesca’s book and Leonardo’s Trattato della Pittura, provide useful information to the scholar engaged in the study of successive and later color theories, or in the understanding of the real meaning of words such as concinnitas and decoro. The fact that Alberti dedicates his own treatise on painting to one of the major architects of the Quattrocento – Brunelleschi – asking him to read it carefully and “eventually correct possible imperfections” is not insignificant. Alberti is not addressing the painterperspective inventor, but the architect that built Florence’s cupola. The aim of this paper (and more generally of the Milanese research group) is to inquire and unveil the color theories that were present in the Renaissance scientific literature, that oriented and underlay the contemporary architectural design and restoration theories. This ancient knowledge on colours is quite modern and will help clarifying the meaning of the traditional concepts of beauty and décor. The controlled use of tints (tinture) can alter the perception of geometric forms, deceiving the eye of the viewer. We also intend to support new studies on color and promote new knowledge on color theories. The case-study proposed to illustrate the research is the façade of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

Ragioni e significati del colore nei trattati e nei manuali quattrocenteschi.

MELE, GIAMPIERO
2011

Abstract

Colour as an everyday means of communication can be discussed in generic terms, but artistic or architectural colors are a more complex argument which include the study of chromatic compositions, combinations of colored areas and the unexpected resultant effects that they generate. The problem of color subjectivity is a cultural problem that depends upon knowledge and education. Going back to the theory of colors contained in the fifteen century treatises and manuals makes it possible to understand the premises that subtended the architectural design of the monuments that marked the age of humanism. When read with focused attention Cennino Cennini’s Libro o trattato dell’arte, Ghiberti’s Commentari, Alberti’s two treatises on painting and architecture, Piero della Francesca’s book and Leonardo’s Trattato della Pittura, provide useful information to the scholar engaged in the study of successive and later color theories, or in the understanding of the real meaning of words such as concinnitas and decoro. The fact that Alberti dedicates his own treatise on painting to one of the major architects of the Quattrocento – Brunelleschi – asking him to read it carefully and “eventually correct possible imperfections” is not insignificant. Alberti is not addressing the painterperspective inventor, but the architect that built Florence’s cupola. The aim of this paper (and more generally of the Milanese research group) is to inquire and unveil the color theories that were present in the Renaissance scientific literature, that oriented and underlay the contemporary architectural design and restoration theories. This ancient knowledge on colours is quite modern and will help clarifying the meaning of the traditional concepts of beauty and décor. The controlled use of tints (tinture) can alter the perception of geometric forms, deceiving the eye of the viewer. We also intend to support new studies on color and promote new knowledge on color theories. The case-study proposed to illustrate the research is the façade of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11389/502
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