Bellori, Giovan Pietro

(1613-1696)
   Theorist and antiquarian who wrote the Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (1672), one of the most important biographical sources for Baroque art. Bellori was also one of the greatest exponents of the Neoplatonic theory of art. His interpretation of Annibale Carracci's Farnese ceiling, which centers on the premise that it depicts the struggle between Divine and Profane Love, is still considered valid. L 'Idea (1664), which he presented at the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, and included as the preface to his Lives, explains the method that, in his view, artists must use in rendering a work of art. This method is based on the Neoplatonic concept that Earth is a corrupt reflection of the heavens. Therefore, artists must form in their minds an idea of greater beauty. They must select from nature the most aesthetically pleasing parts and combine them to create an idealized depiction—the method used by the ancient painter Zeuxis when he rendered the portrait of Helen of Troy. For Bellori, the artists who best accomplished this were Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni, Domenichino, and Carlo Maratta. Bellori is also credited with promoting the systematic documentation of Rome's ancient patrimony, foreshadowing the methodological approach used in modern archaeology.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • BELLORI (G. P.) — BELLORI GIOVAN PIETRO (1613 1696) Homme de lettres italien, critique d’art, bibliothécaire de Christine de Suède, puis conservateur des Antiquités de Rome sous le pontificat de Clément X. L’œuvre de théoricien de Bellori, consignée dans un… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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