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Ut Pictura Poesis and the Relationship Between
Poetry and Painting During the Renaissance

By: Shannon O'Donoghue
Mentor: Dr. Jody Culter

Abstract

This essay explores ut pictura poesis as a renaissance art theory. The main objective of Renaissance artists and art critics who promoted the theory was to raise painting to the status of a liberal art by comparing it to the honored art of poetry. Ideas linking the relationship between the arts of painting and poetry during the Renaissance formed from ancient treatises by Horace and Aristotle. The humanistic theory, popular during the Renaissance, related poetry and painting in the artists? common goal to imitate and then ?perfect? or idealize nature. To show that leading artists were consciously aware of this theoretical development, I apply the ut pictura poesis theory to the analysis of a major work each by Titian, Michelangelo, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

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