Sunday, September 22, 2013

Giorgio Vasari et l'origine du dessin et de la perfection

Vasari e l'origine del disegno e perfezione
Vasari and the origin of design and perfection
Giorgio Vasari
La plupart des écrivains prétendent que la peinture et la scupture furent trouvées par les Égyptiens; d'autres attribuent aux Chaldéens les premières figures en relief et accordent aux Grecs línvention du pinceau et de la couleur; mais moi, je soutiens que le dessin, ce principe créateur et vivifiant de la peinture et de la sculpture, posséda toute sa perfection dès l'origine des choses. Quand Dieu eut fait le monde et orné le ciel de corps lumineux, il traversa avec son intelligence la limpidité de l'air, descendit sur la terre et forma l'homme. Qui donc osera dire que ce modèle pétri par la main du Tout-Puissan n'offrît pas le type parfait de toutes les beautés que réclame la sculpture, et de la morbidesse et du choc harmonieux des lumières et des ombres que cherche la peinture?

Le divin architecte du temps et de la nature ne tira pas sans motif la première image de l'homme du limon de la terre. Il voulut montrer que la perfection doit sortir de l'imperfection. Ainsi voyons-nous les sculpteurs et les peintres corriger, effacer, et retoucher leurs ébauches avant de les amener au point qu'ils désirent.
(Giorgio Vasari, Vies des Peintres, Sculpteurs et Architectes - Préface de l'Auteur - Just Tessier, Libraire-Éditeur - 1847)

Michelangelo - Creation of Adam
I am aware that it is commonly held as a fact by most writers that sculpture, as well as painting, was naturally discovered originally by the people of Egypt, and also that there are others who attribute to the Chaldeans the first rough carvings of statues and the first reliefs. In like manner there are those who credit the Greeks with the invention of the brush and of colouring. But it is my opinion that design, which is the foundation of both arts, and the very soul which conceives and nourishes in itself every part of the intelligence, came into full existence at the time of the origin of all things, when the Most High, after creating the world and adorning the heavens with shining lights, descended through the limpid air to the solid earth, and by shaping man, disclosed the first form of sculpture and painting in the charming invention of things. Who will deny that from this man, as from a living example, the ideas of statues and sculpture, and the questions of pose and of outline, first took form; and from the first pictures, whatever they may have been, arose the first ideas of grace, unity, and the discordant concords made by the play of lights and shadows?

Thus the first model from which the first image of man arose was a clod of earth, and not without reason, for the Divine Architect of time and of nature, being all perfection, wished to demonstrate, in the imperfection of His materials, what could be done to improve them, just as good sculptors and painters are in the habit of doing, when, by adding additional touches and removing blemishes, they bring their imperfect sketches to such a state of completion and of perfection as they desire.
(Members translation)

Giotto

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