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Benjamim Saviani l anguage mechanisms in art production during the counter reformation 192 Abstract This paper investigates composition principles in the context of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, when
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Benjamim Saviani l anguage mechanisms in art production during the counter reformation 192 Abstract This paper investigates composition principles in the context of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, when strongly rhetoric principles are summed up and used systematically in different artistic genres. The intent is to find a particular forma mentis, in a society that operated much by custom, making care to do not intend that certain concepts would exist with the same intensity and consistency throughout the entire period from the advent of the Council of Trent and the collapse of the old European monarchical regimes; but, that similar and congenital concepts circulated in some way, more or less consciously according to the case and its protagonists, throughout the period. Keywords Rhetoric. Fine Arts. Counter-Reformation. Compositional principles. doi: póspós v.22 n.38 são paulo december 2015 MECANISMOS DE LENGUAGE EN ARTES DURANTE LA CONTRARREFORMA MECANISMOS DE LINGUAGEM NAS ARTES DURANTE A CONTRARREFORMA Resumen Este trabajo busca investigar patrones y principios de composición en el contexto de la Contra-Reforma católica, cuando disposiciones de matriz fuertemente retórica son organizadas y usadas de forma sistemática en los distintos géneros artísticos. Buscase, sin embargo, encontrar una forma mentis específica, de una sociedad que funcionaba en mucho por la costumbre, aunque se cuide de no pretender que conceptos específicos existieron con la misma intensidad y coherencia a lo largo de todo el período comprendido entre el Concilio de Trento y el colapso de los antiguos regímenes monárquicos europeos; pero, que conceptos semejantes y congénitos estuviesen en tránsito de alguna forma, más o menos consciente de acuerdo con el caso y sus protagonistas, durante el período. Resumo O presente texto procura investigar padrões e princípios de composição no contexto da Contrarreforma católica, quando disposições de matriz fortemente retórica são compendiadas e usadas de maneira sistemática nos diferentes gêneros artísticos. Procura-se, assim, constatar uma forma mentis específica, de uma sociedade que operava muito pelo costume, ainda que se tenha o cuidado de não pretender que determinados conceitos vigorassem com a mesma intensidade e coerência ao longo de todo o período compreendido entre o advento do Concílio de Trento e a derrocada dos antigos regimes monárquicos europeus; mas sim, que conceitos semelhantes e congênitos circulassem de alguma forma, mais ou menos consciente de acordo com o caso e seus protagonistas, durante todo o período. pós- 193 Palabras clave Retórica. Bellas Artes. Contra-reforma. Principios compositivos. Palavras-chave Retórica. Belas Artes. Contrarreforma. Princípios compositivos. articles p In a sermon on the Passion, the orator, when he gets to the scene of Pilate, tells the tale of how they made Christ a king in jest. He says that they took a purple cloth and threw it over his shoulders, and the audience listens with rapt attention; he says that they wove a crown of thorns and fastened it on his head, and everyone remains spellbound; then he says that they tied his hands and gave him a reed as a scepter, and the hearers still listen in silence with bated breath. At this point, a curtain opens and the image of the Ecce Homo appears, and then you see everyone throwing themselves to the ground and beating his breast, weeping, crying out, howling, and striking himself. 194 What is that? What appeared once again in this church? Everything unveiled by that curtain had been already said by the orator. He had already said all about that purple cloth, about that crown and thorns, about that scepter and reed. Why would that upset everyone, if no one had been troubled before? Because first the Ecce Homo was heard, and then seen; the sayings from the orator reached their ears and the representation of its figure reached their eyes. (Antônio Vieira. Sermão da Sexagésima, 1655) Father Antônio Vieira was probably one of the most influential priests of the 17 th century from all Counter-Reformation Europe. He had successfully passed through three different cultural domains, preaching from the Roman Curia and Europeans monarchies, to Portuguese America. The Sermon for Sexagesima Sunday ( Sermão da Sexagésima ), preached in the Royal Chapel, Lisbon, in 1655, was a product from his return from Maranhão Captaincy, where he watched his catechism initiatives sink under hostility of local Portuguese elite, due to conflicts around rights of local indigenous people. Frustrated by those incidents, Vieira examined the purposes and devices of a religious speech, trying to comprehend the possible relations between Word, preacher and audience, as well as the reason why the Word blossoms in some souls but not in others. Its result was an ingenious and sincere work, metadiscursive: a sermon about the art of preaching, or a speech on the art of speech. Mainly because of theological and political polarization provided by the ascension of Protestantism during the 16 th century, the Catholic Church found itself in need of analyzing its own doctrines and liturgies by Council of Trento s perspective. During the synod, doctrine as well as political relations within catholic domains were reassured; nevertheless, it was stated that its learning and maintenance should occur more efficiently. Such statement would concur with a crucial field within Philosophy and Culture: the Rhetoric. Specifically in this context, catholic doctrine was understood as a set of discourses, which should be expressed efficiently as to persuade the audience; hence, different art genres were systematically included in catholic projects consisting of an overlap of political, theological and cultural aspects. First, affirming that the inclusion of arts in those projects increases in frequency also mean to recognize that relations between Arts and Rhetoric already operated in European society before this period. More than that, Catholicism in particular assumes this imbrication conscientiously and assertively, formulating theoretical as well as practical knowledge that ought to be applied in artistic works. Secondly, it implies that the recognition of the arts rhetoric source is a common one to all forms of European póspós v.22 n.38 são paulo december 2015 communication. This source would mainly reside in these societies forma mentis from its beginning (considering that the study of Rhetoric is a consequence of practical necessities that holds back to Classical Greece), and would be present in the protestant perspective. Nonetheless, its rhetoric origins would function by other means than the Catholic s, given that the doctrine changes with regard to its liturgical and theological conceptions. Vieira s concerns about speech and its efficacy would be the same that guided Catholic Reformation politics, and would completely synthesize this reformed cultural complex from the 16 th century. In the excerpt above, when he compares his followers reaction (audience) to the painted image of Ecce Homo with the reaction to the preacher s (orator) description of the same biblical passage, the Father meditates on paintings efficacy as a visual discourse useful to sermon. A priori, the sermon itself would be more eloquent than the oral speech once the first it makes direct use of images, while in the last the orator must create images to his audience, describing the material of the speech. To the Counter-Reformation, both phenomena are helpful for persuading followers and for worshipping; therefore they should be extensively explored and optimized. This article aims to explore some of those mechanisms of artistic composition, focusing on a common rhetoric source in its multiple expressions (Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Music, Poetry, Oratory, etc.). Exploring this subject in a macro level is useful for understanding plenty expressions of artistic, theological and political sources, especially in catholic domains European and Colonial alike. 1. Ingeniousness and astuteness. The very idea of genius, founded on the concept of a creator s spirit which gives way to wild pulses from his own persona could not operate clearly before the 19 th century. On the contrary, as we look through our thematic focus, it is worth noting that, especially after the 17 th century, important treaties on rhetoric arts were produced, such as Baltazar Gracián s (Agudeza y arte de ingenio, 1648) and Emanuele Tesauro s (Il cannocchiale aristotélico, o sia, Idea dell arguta et ingeniosa elocutione [...], 1654). Reading these treaties provide us the notion of the artist as a romantic genius and creator of original works is replaced by an ingenious inventor, as a crafty spirit that, through his/her astuteness, is capable of combining ideas and common-senses into new compositions. It is worth observing that the inventor makes use of concepts that already exist in his/her society. Besides that, according to a theological framework, God gives the ingeniousness to the inventor s soul. That said, the work of an inventor is not genial, but ingenious ; its relevance and innovation is obtained by the way concepts already existent are craftily combined, and not by creation of concepts ex novo. Keeping that in mind utterly changes our perception of originality and procedures of artistic creation, once it becomes a regulator of the idea of newness. Thus, being new does not relate to the introduction of innovative products, but by the variation and combination of already existing ideas 195 pósarticles p 196 1 With regard to an overall definition of what was understood by decorum, we suggest a thorough and instructive work, especially to its first chapter: Decorum [O decoro], by BASTOS (2013). which is not entirely recognized under the romantic use of the term genial. It is worth noting that this arrangement poses infinite variations, with as many difficulty levels of reading (that would be an audience s ingeniousness feature). It is our task, then, to seek for those references and ideas that would be combined and reconfigured in an opera d arte, so that it would be at least readable. 2. Commonplace and emulation. The difficulty of using authorship or even plagiarism (an anachronistic conception for that period) because the elements present in those discourses were not exactly new, but articulations of pre-existing ones. This would be the starting point to any discourse (that is, the disposition of ideas) that followed the European perspective, at least until the rise of romanticism. It would simultaneously be cause and consequence of authorship and astute creations circumstances, as described above. Moreover, it is important to stress the following subtlety: ideas are not only pre-existent, but also authorized, once they passed as correct by the Catholic perspective, at that time. This would be the conception of commonplace, or ars inveniendi. Besides its authorization by custom or by moral authorities themselves (in our case, the Catholic ones), its use would be regulated by notions of decorum, or righteousness 1. European art was always curbed by corollaries admitted as truths, which can pertain to different subjects, being legitimized as truths in many ways - as said by the precepts of Aristotelian rhetoric. In this view, logic syllogism is a significant foundation of the discourse, proving Truth deductively. Besides its Aristotelian origins, the Catholic universe is also theological and neoscholastic, and reassures those truths by evoking authority, which reveals itself as truth through custom, or through the God s Word. Due to that, sayings of those philosophers accepted as Doctors of the Church (especially Plato and Aristotle) were taken for Truths, such as the Bible. Thus, some ideas in spite of its level of diffusion could be considered as commonplaces of logical and moral authority, and are used in discourse argumentation; by that supporting the point intended. Questioning regarding the very notion of authorship arises when we analyze texts that refer to the citation s author; nonetheless, we find plenty of citations that would not nominally refer to its sources. Our surprise in respect of this lack of information is nothing but unfamiliarity of the contemporary reader with the relations of authorship. Rather, referring to authorship would serve to highlight commonplace authority, and its absence would stress an assumption of the reader s erudition judged as capable of identifying the citation s source, the writer would exempt himself to present it. It would not be absurd to follow this logic, especially considering that the discourse was shaped through metaphors (which would explain the need of astuteness to dispose them ingeniously), and those would lead to different levels of comprehension, according to the public aimed. There would be, then, a distinction between vulgar and sober audience, that is, between common people and educated public. The example of religious buildings is póspós v.22 n.38 são paulo december 2015 quite elucidative: the use of theological metaphors is the core of artistic representations that ornate a temple; they oscillate between easy understanding which aims to morally educate the common people and intricate interpretation hoping to underline the erudition of that particular Religious Order over the others. 2 [...] & most valorous men, as Balthazar de Sciencia, Bramante, Sangalo, Urbino, Vinhola [Vignola], Serlio, Paladio, Philisbert & other famous who not only follow Vitro s [Vitruvio] texts, but also defend them, as was great Leo Bapta Alberto [Alberti], whom we can truly call the head of all of them [...] (COUTO, 1631, p. 4.) The point of citations source is illustrative in Alberti s De re ædificatoria, where it is found that nearly every concept introduced is followed by its author. Alberti, as is well-known, is located at the center of debate about architect s erudition and he was indeed recognized as one of the most sophisticated inventors from Renaissance. Moreover, this proceeding by itself seems to become a commonplace to subsequent architecture treaties; its reference has been extensively observed in other texts, namely Mattheus do Couto s (1631). In this particular work, beyond accurately using concepts authorships (Vitruvio, Serlio, Paladio, Alberti, etc.), Couto paid a specific compliment to Alberti 2. Furthermore, by categorizing basic procedures in different genres, it would be possible to articulate this proceeding to a humble genre, actually a subgenre of the lower ones, primarily designed to instruct, instead of touching or delighting. In respect of citations lacking authorship, it appears to happen more often in the musical genre, mainly because this discourse is not fundamentally verbal, but harmonic (even when the music is composed of lyrics). In this case, revealing the citation s authorship can be compromised, or at least occur distinctly. For instance, Bach s choirs harmonized and developed simple protestant choirs either organized or composed by Luther inserting them in broader works, as cantatas, oratorios, and Passions. It is the case of Christ lag in todesbanden cantata (BWV4), which is entirely based on Luther s homonymous choir, composed during the 16 th century. pós- 197 Plagiarism is an utterly inappropriate concept to label these proceedings. Instead, it would be useful to think of them as ways of honoring authors and consecrated works. This introduces us to the notion of emulation, a enhanced imitation or an imitation with additions. The emulator does not intend to surpass the other, but to pay him homage, naming him in his own work. Under a theological perspective, authorship assumes a subsidiary importance, as the ego still was not viewed the way Freudian perspective does. The author s persona is surpassed by the idea that all these inventors are actually breeding and producing human craft wonders. A wonder, in its turn, is a precise conception from the 17 th century that translates the divine enlightenment: it is the expression of God s presence, by human action and natural phenomena. As the understanding was that works were carried out by inventors, and not by artists (as we understand contemporarily), this would help to explain the difficulty of attributing authors to many artworks. Emulation, thus, should not be understood as an inventor s attempt to surpass another, but as a glorification of God s works on Earth, enlightening men to continuously improve those things already created by others. Accordingly, if a paintbrush is the painter s instrument, the painter himself is God s instrument to unveil, by ingeniousness, many wonders in the world. Ironically, Bach, symbol of musical geniality to our time, might have not articles p 198 acknowledge this labelling in his theological perspective, deeply influenced by Lutheran austerity. 3. Homology between discourses. Take into account and understand this principle means comprehend culture as being essentially rhetoric; by that, artistic genres are actually different genres of discourse (organization of ideas), emulations of oral discursive genre. Therefore, an oral sermon is a rhetoric discourse as much as a written text (prose of verse), a painting, an engraving, a sculpture, an architectonic building, a musical or a scenic play. The homology between discourses derives from a Horatian principle, voiced in the maxim ut pictura poesis, from his Ars poetica; it translates to as is painting so is poetry, it means to establish a relation between both artistic genres. By that time, Horace hoped to comprehend the poetic discourse also metaphorically and reflexively, such as painting was. This proposition became a true artistic doctrine, particularly during the Counter-Reformation, when rhetoric became a political persuasive instrument. It was reaffirmed as a way to authorize homology between discourses of different artistic genres, that is, comparing each one by its similitudes in structure, use of concepts, figures of speech, etc. The occidental rhetoric tradition, of Aristotelian and Platonic origins as well as Horacian, Ciceronian and Quintilian seeks the establishment of a discourse by organization of concepts for a specific moment and place to present. The rhetoric art has the main objective the persuasion of its spectator, using three means to its achievement: instruction, delight, and commotion (motion of affections). It is aiming an increase of commotion that the arts are converted to strategic tools to counter-reformist policies - from the 16 th century onward -, giving birth to wonderful results. Nevertheless, this does not imply that arts as rhetoric genres flourished during the Cinquecento; they are systematically used from this period, and destined to interact with a vast public. In addition, they were often included in treaties and compendia that address its constitution. By accepting that every artistic genre is actually a discourse that try to persuade its audience is the starting point to fully understand distinctions between the universes today named as Renaissance and Baroque. Furthermore, following the proposition of homology between discourses from multiple genres, we understand that there is an extensive dialogue between the arts, which could offer new perspectives for different situations. These conditions could also be admitted as ingenious operations, that bring originality to the discourse by the reconfiguration of ideas, making the spectator wonder at these operations and then, persuade him. Examples of these operations are countless. In music, transpositions are extremely variable, and present a homology quite similar to a principle of oral discourse, that is, its relations with time: an orator that speeches uses a determined amount of time to perform orderly each rhetoric operation póspós v.22 n.38 são
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