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Dear All, PowerPoint Presentation

Dear All,

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Dear All,

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  1. Dear All, Sorry, once again, for being absent; shoulder’s no good to anyone today. Sorry, too, for any typos in these slides – one-handed typing is a clumsy business! Today, take some time to join the Wiki. Currently, it’s a party of two… Ben might guide anyone who needs it in the right direction. Once we have everyone on board, we can use this site as a way of sharing and submitting work, and as a support for revision. BEFORE you do that, though. Spend a little more time on “Fra Lippo Lippi.” This is a tricky poem in many ways; hard to get to grips with it, without covering a little of the history. Slide 6 gives you very brief definitions of historicism and new historicism. These are two related critical approaches, relevant to this poem because 1) it has often been analyzed by other critics in historicist terms (AO3); 2) Browning is carrying out an almost new historicist act here, because in retelling the story of C15 Fra Lippo Lippi and the Italian Renaissance, he is also engaging in C19 debates about art and aesthetics. In many ways, this poem is an artistic manifesto. Look at the notes on the following slides, and then compare the following passages: lines 175-235, as compared with lines 270-335. What arguments are being preented in these passages, and where is Browning putting his support? Ignore the yellow question on slide 2, but use the green qs as a starting point. Roughly half the class should concentrate on 175-235, and half 270-335. We will

  2. Key Question: Write about the importance of time in Browning’s “Fra Lippo Lippi.” Starter: • What is the story of “Fra Lippo Lippi”? • What is the point of “Fra Lippo Lippi”? • Which building block is this second question related to?

  3. The Italian Renaissance saw the development of geometric principles of perspective (the basic 3D drawings using vanishing points that you will have done in D&T) in art, science, and technology. This contributed to a more sophisticated naturalism (roughly, in our everyday talk, what we would call “being realistic”) in painting and drawing; perspective allowed for a more “realistic” sense of depth in painting. This development didn’t please everyone, though. Some there were who thought that the more accurate representation of the physical world – the world of appearances rather than spiritual realities – would lead people to fixate on the physical, the bodily, rather than the spiritual. In the C19, this view was put forward forcefully by Alexis Rio, who associated the supposed spiritual decline of art particularly with Lippi and Masaccio (slides 7 & 8). Rio’s view was adopted by a number of critics, including Browning’s friend Anna Jameson.

  4. Italian Art, pre-Renaissance Cimabue (approx. 1240-1302; Florentine painter)

  5. Duccio (approx. 1255-1319; Sienna)

  6. Giotto (approx. 1266-1337; Florentine painter, student of Cimabue); thought to be more realistic/naturalistic than Cimabue or Duccio; greater sense of depth/perspective than mediaeval art

  7. Masaccio (1401-28);increasing realism, use of perspective and vanishing point Begun by Masaccio, finished by our very own Filippo

  8. Fra Lippo Lippi (Fra Filippo), 1406-69

  9. Fra Angelico (1395-1455) Roughly contemporary with Filippo; he’s unfavourably compared with these two (lines 235-36). What are the differences? Fra Lorenzo (1365-1424)

  10. Historicism  Understanding works in terms of their socio-cultural context New Historicism  Understanding works in terms of their socio-cultural context, but realizing, too, that we are shaped by socio-historical forces

  11. Browning is engaging with debates that were relevant to both Filippo and the Italian Renaissance, and C19 aesthetics. For example: Browning could have sensed the high regard many had for Angelico and Lorenzo (slide 9) through his reading of a C16 critic called Vasari. But Browning is also directly responding to a view made popular by Alexis Rio (slide 3), but which lasted until later in the C19 (see next slide). What views about art is Browning exploring, and which does he support?

  12. If attractiveness, and attractiveness of the best kind, sufficed to make a great artist, then Filippo would be one of the greatest, greater perhaps than any other Florentine before Leonardo. […] Yet by themselves all these qualities [of his paintings] constitute only a high-class illustrator, and such by native endowment I believe Fra Filippo to have been. […] [He] had no profound sense of either material or spiritual significance – the essential qualifications of the real artist. […] Filippo’s strongest impulse was not toward the pre-eminently artistic one of re-creation, but rather […] toward the expression of the pleasant, genial, spiritually comfortable feelings of ordinary life. Bernhard Berenson, “The Florentine Painters [1896],” in The Italian Painters of the Reanaissance, pp. 90-91

  13. Art/poetry & Life – function of art… Aesthetics/politics Transcendent/Material (corporeal) C19 aesthetic debate… Alexis Rio, Anna Jameson, Mary Shelley… Moral/spiritual decline

  14. The Building Blocks • Scenes & places • Time (temporality) & Sequence • Characterization • Voices in the story • Point of view (narrative perspective) • Destination: Or, “The Big ‘So What?’”