Paul Holberton Publishing
Date de publication
Nombre de pages
24 x 18 x 0 cm

A History of Arcadia in Art and Literature: Volume I

Earlier Renaissance

Paul Holberton Publishing

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Longtemps attendu et extrêmement bien accueilli, A History of Arcadia de Paul
Holberton constitue l’examen approfondi et minutieux d’un grand nombre de textes
originaux de poésie pastorale classique des époques moderne et contemporaine, de
littérature et de théâtre en grec ancien, en latin, en italien, en français, en espagnol,
en portugais, en néerlandais, en allemand et en anglais et d’un large éventail d’images
prenant fin juste avant 1800. L’ouvrage analyse le développement de la pastorale
comme moyen de représentation du bonheur humain sur Terre à travers la cour
réciproque entre un garçon et une fille, et leurs sentiments auxquels la pastorale de
l’époque donne voix.
This tremendous book is an iconographic study of Renaissance and Baroque pastoral and
related subject matter, with an important chapter on the 18th century, both in the visual
arts, where pastoral is very poorly understood, and in words and performance, about
which many false preconceptions prevail.
The study begins with Virgil’s use of Theocritus and an analysis of what basis Virgil
provided for Renaissance pastoral and what, by contrast, stemmed from the medieval
pastourelle. Pastoral developed notably in the Venetian High Renaissance. Its texts
incorporated Petrarchist and Neoplatonic ideas of love, of which this book charts the
development and evolution with unprecedented precision, considering also the female
nude in art. There is a novel and polemical discussion of the development of landscape
subjects in art, from Giorgione to Claude. The contributions of the most influential or
representative authors – Petrarch, Sannazaro, Montemayor, Tasso, Guarino, Lope de
Vega, Cervantes, Honoré d’Urfé, Cornelis de Hooft, Shakespeare and lastly Salomon
Gessner – are considered beside many interesting more minor ones – Arsocchi,
Bernardim Ribeiro, Clément Marot, Cieco d’Adria, John Fletcher, Fontenelle – and the
verses of madrigals.
There is a chapter on ‘Being Rural’ – what we can say about the reality of life in
the country in the early modern period. There is a chapter on ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ that
introduces new evidence for the dating of Poussin’s famous work by reference to a
neglected work by Sébastien Bourdon in Yale; another on a pastoral composition by
Rubens that has not been considered as such. There is an important and bold discussion
of self-projection (‘metachronic’ representation) by monarchs and courtiers across
Europe in the 17th century, both within pastoral and without, which illuminates profound
differences between Protestant and Catholic culture. Coming from the study of earlier
periods, the author is able to throw new light on the Rococo – figures such as John Gay,
Watteau, Gessner and Gainsborough – and to explain the termination of pastoral writing
and art with the embrace of modernity in form and means of expression.
All texts are given in the original language and all translated into English, while the
visuals are beautifully reproduced: the book is also an anthology.
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