Principio, mezzo, fine: Vasari, la Sala grande e la forma dell’epos

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This essay focuses on the pictorial cycle of the Sala grande devised by Giorgio Vasari and Vincenzo Borghini in 1563-1564. Existing scholarship traditionally discusses the cycle in relation to contemporary historiographical practices, describing it as a painted counterpart to the work of Florentine court historians. Vasari’s and Borghini’s scrupulous gathering of sources and concern for historical accuracy, however, did not entail an equal commitment to the forms and modes of historiography. As this essay shows, it was the contemporary surge of debates about the proper length, unity, and sequence of epic that informed the design of the cycle and the language employed to describe it, which Vasari borrowed from a key passage of Aristotle’s Poetics. Shifting the attention from history to poetry, from accuracy to artifice, this contribution frames the discourse on the visual depiction of war within the theoretical debates that presided over its literary representation in the Cinquecento, highlighting shared concerns and solutions.

Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa Sala Grande di Palazzo Vecchio e la Battaglia di Anghiari di Leonardo da Vinci
Subtitle of host publicationDalla configurazione architettonica all'apparato decorativo
Place of PublicationFlorence
PublisherLeo S. Olschki Editore
ISBN (Print)9788822266705
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBiblioteca Leonardiana. Studi e documenti

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