Navigazione – Mappa del sito

HomeNumeri47disegnoFrom Alberti’s virtù to the virtu...


From Alberti’s virtù to the virtuoso Michelangelo. Questions on a concept that moved from ethics to aesthetics through drawing

Eduardo Côrte-Real e Susana Oliveira
p. 83-93


This paper reflects on Virtue as a key concept at the source of the common, and still prevalent, classification of drawings as bad or good, which shifted from the moral or Ethical to the Aesthetics domain between 1400 and 1600. It is suggested that clarity and control were characteristics of goodness in a particular period, while fastness and chance were characteristics of goodness in subsequent times, yet both revealing the projections of the ethical over the aesthetic.

Torna su

Testo integrale

… nec vera virtus, cum semel excidit, curat reponi deterioribus

From the Stoa to the Duomo

1Goodness and badness have their place within Ethics but they are, to the common sense, associated with morals. Moral deals with the goodness or illness of our actions whereas ethics deals with the justification for human actions. Nonetheless, “ethical” is the first synonym for “morals” that appears in many dictionaries.

2Somehow, somewhere and sometime we’ve started to use moral concepts to qualify drawings. This is a bad drawing and this is a good drawing. Nobody goes to heaven just for doing good drawings as nobody goes to hell just for doing bad drawings. At least, it isn’t the sort bad action one usually needs to confess. But there was a time in which goodness and badness were matters of life and death and, in the very frail borders between these two qualities, science and knowledge were shaped.

3The purpose of this paper is not to determine when have we started to qualify drawings as good or bad, or, for that matter, to save souls, but to underline a period in which drawing had a crucial role in stirring a concept from ethics to aesthetics. This concept was virtue, the Roman virtus.

  • 1 Cennino 1982.
  • 2 Ibidem: 10.

4In order to pursue this venture we must remember that in the beginning of the Renaissance a new word – Disegno – started to be used to refer to several forms of graphic objects, from high technical drawings to sketches. we can trace Disegno back to Cennino Cennini’s (c. 1370-1440) Libro dell’Arte (c. 1400) when it clearly meant “drawing”1 exhorting the apprentices to practice pen drawing with cross etching as observation drawing that would make them become expert practitioners and full of disegni inside their heads: «Sai che te avverrà praticando il disegno di penna? Che ti farà sperto, pratico e capace di molto disegno entro la testa tua»2. during the subsequent century, Cennino’s suggestion that disegno was both graphical and intellectual was bound to a clear establishment with the discussions of the primacy of the Arts and the institution of the Accademia del disegno in Florence in the mid 16th century, all as part of the vast self-called modern recovery of the Ancient Classical knowledge.

  • 3 Alberti 1435.

5On the core of this resurgence was the concept of virtue, central to the work of one the most important thinkers of the Renaissance, Leon battista Alberti (1404-1472). Alberti’s first incursion in art theory was the treatise De Pictura3, later translated into Florentine and dedicated to Fillippo brunelleschi by the author himself.

  • 4 Smith 1992.
  • 5 Gibbon 1960: 485-486.

6In the early years of the 1440s, Alberti wrote about virtue in Della Tranquillità dell’Animo4, a dialogue between three Florentine characters that uses the duomo’s dome as a metaphor for virtue, something that protected humankind from the caprices of Fortuna. to this dialogue we must associate an earlier one, written ten years before by poggi, De Varietate Fortunae5. In this piece, two friends contemplate the ruins of the Roman Forum from the top of the Capitol Hill in Rome. Beholding the destruction and its roofless ruined interiors, where gardens were then planted with bushes and frantic vegetation once covered by golden domes, the two friends certified the power of the wheel of Fortune that was now returning the ancient artificial luxury to nature, to a large extent, primordial to Rome.

7Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Alberti used a shiny new building to symbolize Virtue, finally emulating the ancient works. The new cathedral was identified as a steady structure, robust and harmonious, able to keep humankind safe from the insatiable turns of the wheel of Fortune. Although, as a metaphor, the technical knowledge applied on building such a structure is instilled in the meaning of virtue. Alberti’s subsequent theoretical writings on painting, Architecture and Sculpture stressed that same aspect.

8Virtue was an heir to the Greek Aretê, a mix of knowledge, wisdom and tranquillity that was pursued by the Stoics in order to reach Apatia, a state of perfection and excellence attainable by human beings through disciplinary rigour. Apatia by no means meant lack of action as in “apathy” but a sort of indifference resulting from excellence. Virtus was clearly an active concept, a sort of guiding star for all human action. The emperor marcus Aurelius was the ultimate example of active virtue and together with Cicero, Seneca, and horatio, expressed concern with the constant decline of such particular characteristic of the Roman people.

  • 6 Alberti 1440.
  • 7 Ibidem: 78.
  • 8 Ibidem: 84.
  • 9 Ibidem: 85.

9We can look further into what virtue signified, more than a thousand years after, in the novel Momo, o del Principe6, written in Latin, where Alberti uses the goddess Virtue that comes to Earth by invitation of the humans in order to diminish the damage that momo, god of distrust, irony and deceitfulness is doing by proclaiming the lousy rule of Jove. Virtue has two sons, trophy and triumph, and two daughters, praise and posterity7. Praise would give birth to Fame, a monster with many eyes, mouths and tongues, resulting from a rape perpetrated by momo8. In this story, as a consequence of momo’s mischief and wrong deeds, Virtue and her sons and daughters abandon Earth, at the end of the first book. We also meet here the goddess enemy of Virtue, Fortuna9. Although the quality of virtue must win over vice, Fortuna, i.e. hazard and incident, is the true enemy of Virtue. Virtue is therefore, essentially, control and intent. No doubt that Fame, vice and Fortuna are considered as bad or at least wrong, whilst Virtue is supposed to be good or right. Goodness has, in Alberti, a sense of correctness, of knowledgeable composed attitude.

10The great novelty of De Pictura is the explanation of how perspective works within an Euclidean framework. In this geometrical world, points, lines, surfaces and volumes are “visible” both graphically and intellectually in a crystalline organisation.

  • 10 Alberti 1465: 13.
  • 11 Ibidem: 13.
  • 12 Ibidem: 13. unless otherwise stated, all translations into English are ours.
  • 13 Cennini 1982: 7-21.

11For Alberti, painting was composed by «circonscrizione, composizione, e ricevere di lumi»10 («circumscription, composition and illumination»). “Circonscrizione” was «non’altro che lo disegnamento dell’orlo»11 («nothing but the drawing of the outer limits»). he insists that these outlines should be drawn with the thinnest lines and stresses that a good painting always depends on a good drawing: «niuna composizione e niuno ricevere di lumi si puó lodare ove non sia buona ciconscrizione, cioè un buono disegno per sé essere gratissimo» («no composition nor colouring may be praised where there is not a good circumscription, that is, a good drawing by itself graceful»)12. The subsequent Italian painting seems to follow this advice, goodness of drawing lies on subtleness and, especially, on geometric Euclidean correction. Whilst in Cennino, goodness is mostly related with good materials13 and with the “buona pratica” of drawing from nature. Alberti’s drawing goodness is related with the use of concepts of applied mathematics – perspective and Euclidean or pythagorean geometries. Alberti’s works, both written and built, manifest the concern with human values as if proposing a new incorruptible world. The incorruptibly of a human generated world must have mathematical consistency and a consequent formal clarity. piero della Francesca’s (1410(?)-1492) paintings are the embodiment of such transparent geometrical goodness. The ideal cities attributed to piero’s circle testify how linear “disegno” aimed the status of Apatia. Stressing this virtuous goodness, there is a new architecture reviving the clarity of the Roman and Etruscan buildings still visible. Cities so perfect that they are almost uninhabited… Alberti chooses the architect as the paradigm of a new human and, naturally, architecture as the virtuous drawing, a sort of petrified geometry. For him, architecture was constituted of “lineamenta” and “materia” According to Rykvert:

  • 14 Rykwert et al. 1988: 422-423.

In his prologue, Alberti argues that architecture comprises two parts, the lineamenta – deriving from the mind – and the materia – deriving from nature – mediated by the skilled craftsman: he makes lineamenta the subject of his first book. As Lang has pointed out (Lang, «de lineamentis»), the word lineamenta has been translated variously as disegni (bartoli), meaning drawings and designs; Risse (Theuer); “form” (panofsky, Idea; and Krautheimer as “definitions”, “plan”, and “schematic outlines” (Krautheimer, Alberti and Vitruvius and Alberti’s Templum Etruscum; Krautheimer and Krautheimerhess, Lorenzo ghiberti, p.230). Lang defines lineamenta as «measured ground-plan» (p.333), but this reading is not consistently applicable and is too close to our preferred translation of finitio as “outline”, meaning “measured outline” (see Concinnitas). We have translated it therefore as «lineaments» for the most part, which encompasses “lines”, “linear caracteristics”, and so, by implication, design14.

  • 15 Alberti 1435: 43.
  • 16 Ibidem: 19.
  • 17 Ibidem: 19. Our own emphasis.

12To this discussion we might add what Alberti himself translated from Latin to Italian in his own treatise on painting. In the Latin version, section 46, he wrote: «pictos ego vultus, et doctis et indoctis consiententibus, laudabo eos qui veluti exsculpti extare a tabulis videantur, eosque contra vituperabo quibus nhil artis nisi fortassis in lineamentis eluceat»15. whereas the same sentence, in “lengua toscana”, he has written: «Io, coi dotti e non dotti, loderò quelli visi quali come scolpiti parramo uscire fuori della tavola, e biasimerò quelli visi in quali vega arte niuna altra che sole o forse nel disegno»16 («I, with the knowledgeable and the non knowledgeable, will praise those faces that, as they were sculpted, seem to came out of the “tavola”, and will criticize those faces in which we cannot see any other art than only maybe in the drawing/design»). Alberti translates himself in his own text “lineamentis” for “disegno”. He struggles with the fact that “disegno” is not a Latin word but an Italian one. It is also clear that it had become the general designation for different graphic forms in the early days of Renaissance. In the following sentence he writes, translating also “conscription” as “disegno”: «Vorrei un buon disegno a una buona composizione bene essere colorato» translating: «bene conscriptam, optime coloratam compositionem esse velim»17. It is reasonable to think that “lineamentis” could mean both composition and circumscription, both made visible through lines.

13The genealogy of Alberti’s goodness in drawing extends itself until today. We almost have a kinaesthetic reaction beholding a clear descriptive crystalline drawing. We also praise drawings that “are in control” as good. The vibrant yet quiet spaces and characters in Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna and botticelli paintings, among others, moulded our judgment. Even if we, on occasions, appreciate a drawing for having that clear goodness and judge it to be poor, we normally acknowledge the goodness in the intentions of the author.

14In conclusion, this genealogy of goodness coming from the Albertian Virtue sees badness in Fortunate events. All must be precisely measured and intellectually controlled. However, less than a century after De Pictura, another genealogy for goodness in drawing will emerge from the genius of Michelangelo.

From the Duomo to the Virtuoso

  • 18 Vasari 1550: 913, § 991. «When the funerary monument of Giulio was finishing, Michelangelo instruct (...)

Mentre che egli faceva la sepoltura de Giulio, fece a uno squadratore condurre un termine, che poi alla sepoltura in San Pietro in Vincola pose, con dire, «Lieva oggi questo, e spiana qui, e pulisci qua»; di maniera che senza che colui se n’avvedessi, gli fé fare una figura. Perché finita colui maravigliosamente la guardava, disse Michele Agnolo: «E che te ne pare?» «Parmi bene – risposi colui – e v’ho grande obligo». «Perché?» soggiunse Michele Agnolo. «Perché io ho ritrovato per mezzo vostro una virtú che io non sapeva d’averla»18.

15This anecdote demonstrates that, in mid sixteen century, virtue was already a synonym for technical skill. We must recall here that virtuoso is different from common use of “virtuous”. The first evolved from the kind of virtue that we have been talking about and it is fully integrated in English language as meaning someone with outstanding artistic technical abilities. Nevertheless, as in many Latin languages, “virtuoso” carries also a slight weight of buffoonery or even pointless or excessive technical zeal. According to Anthony blunt,

  • 19 Blunt 1978: 74-75.

Certain opinions of michelangelo’s which are recorded by his immediate followers show that he had almost consciously broken with the ideals of the earlier humanists. He was opposed, for instance, to the mathematical methods which formed an important part of Alberti´s or Leonardo´s theory. Lomazzo records a saying of his that “all the reasonings of geometry and arithmetic, and all the proofs of perspective were of no use to a man without the eye”, and Vasari attributes to him the saying that” it was necessary to have the compasses in the eyes and not in the hand, because the hands works and the eyes judge19.

  • 20 Hirst 1988; De Tolnay 1964.

16This last statement determines that a mysterious and surprising aspect of virtue overcomes the mechanical and rigorous aspects. We could confirm that, in the whole corpus of Michelangelo’s drawings, only one drawing makes use of a construzione legitima scheme20.

17One of the most surprising Michelangelo’s contributions for the evolution of the artistic form was the glorification of non-finito, the “not-finished”. In his sculpture and in certain architectural endeavours such as the Medici Chapel in S. Lorenzo in Florence, the sketch as disegno is one of the signs of the Maniera period. As Wazbinski pointed out:

  • 21 Wazbinsky 1984: 105. «At the emancipation of the “non-finito” contributed the theory of Art that fa (...)

All’emancipazione del “non finito” contribuì efficacemente anche la teoria dell’arte che favoriva l’aspetto intellettuale della creazione, cioè poneva l’idea, la concezione e il concetto al di sopra della realizzazione artistica. Un chiaro riflesso di questa situazione in terra toscana fu il concetto di “disegno”. Contava soprattutto l’idea oppure la più semplice espressione fissata nel disegno21.

  • 22 Barzman 2000: 23-59

18Michelangelo was undisputedly the most celebrated and influential artist in Italy at the time of his death in 1564. The year before, 1563, was prosperous in events regarding our story: In Florence, Cosimo the 1st, grand duke of Tuscany, approved the statutes of the Accademia del disegno in a process of encapsulating the artist as part of his political strategy, as described by Karen-Edis Barzman22. Another significant fact was the publishing of the Council of Trento transcripts. The Council was gathered to face the growing power of the Reform. Like in former times the Roman Catholic Church mended its walls and reacted fiercely. Regarding the arts in general, matters of decorum were right on top of their priorities. For instance, in 1559, some cardinals considered the nudity of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment to be obscene and claimed for its destruction. Only after Michelangelo’s death, Daniele da Volterra was ordered to cover the figures’ genitalia and to dress heavily the mother of god. Volterra gained the nick-name of “braghettone”, which may be translated as “underpanter” but the discussion about propriety was in the air.

  • 23 1564, cited by Hauser 1965: 64.

19In this same context, Giovan Andrea Giglio da Fabriano in Due Dialoghi degli Errori de’ Pittori23 complains that painters don’t care anymore about the content of their paintings but merely to show their virtuosity.

  • 24 Griseri 1980.

20Virtue has then changed dramatically. To Vasari, the “sign of art” of his own time, later called mannerism, would be “prestezza, furia, firmezza” and “terribilità” (“swiftness, ferocity, firmness and terribleness”)24. Quite different from the Albertian virtue, in fact. All this is evident in Michelangelo’s tormented disegni. Others like Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino pursued a kind of virtue in which velocity and expression played an important role.

21A new form of drawing was becoming now important: the schizzi (sketches), which Vasari defined them in the Proemio of the Vite:

  • 25 Vasari 1550. «Schizzi we call a first sort of drawings that are made for finding the way of the att (...)

Gli schizzi chiamiamo noi una prima sorta di disegni, che si fanno per trovare il modo delle attitudini et il primo componimento dell’opera. E sono fatti in forma di una macchia, accennati solamente da noi in una sola bozza del tutto. E perché questi dal furor dello artifice sono in poco tempo espressi, universalmente son detti schizzi perché vengono, schizzando o con la penna o con altro disegnatoio o carbone, in maniera che questi non servono se non per tentare l’animo di quel che gli sovviene25.

  • 26 Collobi Ragghianti 1974.

22The evidence and value of schizzi was something totally new. Virtue was in velocity and fury! In fact, Fortuna seemed to play an important role on producing these drawings. Chasing the incidental, the uncontrolled by speed, pushed virtue to the dangerous borders of Fortuna. A good drawing could now be the one that had “touched the enemy” and still could be admired as virtuous by really expressing the essence of something to come. In this sense, we understand why Vasari collected drawings and organized the Libro de’ Disegni26, because he wanted to stress the value of drawing not as a final object but as the intermediary between idea and concretisation. The goodness of a drawing could only be assessed in relation to an existing or presumed work in one of the three fine arts: painting, Sculpture and Architecture. two traditions derived from here: on one side for the artists, a new tradition of goodness in drawing was starting, still evident until our days, in which the traces of velocity and first impressions are regarded and valued as good. On the other hand, fully embedded in aesthetical appreciation, virtue as a virtuoso’s quality started to be disapproved since the trentine commendation for decorum.

23Since Vasari was one of the founders of the Accademia del disegno of Florence, we might suspect that his vision about drawing could be the basis of the first academic learning and teaching of Disegno.

  • 27 Zuccari 1607.

24In the late days of the sixteenth century, Federico Zuccari, reformer of the academy of Rome, took advantage of the Italian morphology to redefine disegno as the sign of god in us because of Di(o) – god; segno – sign27. According to Zuccari, god had an internal disegno and an external disegno understood by Angels, who also had an internal disegno deriving from god’s external disegno, and also an external disegno understandable by humans that become able to have an internal disegno and an external disegno: drawing. This beautiful attempt to Christianise drawings’ goodness was also something that enhanced the role of drawing as a mysterious process transmitted by the Angels to humanity and essentially good.

25The multitude of artists and would-be artists invading Italy in the following times absorbed these meanings of goodness and badness and spread it all over Europe and western world.

From Virtue to Doom

26Maybe we are still inclined to this ethical value of drawings. One cannot deny goodness and badness as ethical concepts in much the same way as beauty and ugliness are aesthetical concepts still in use. Our first conclusive inference is that drawings’ goodness or badness is related to drawing as a mean to an end and not as an end itself. Drawing as part of a process may be easily designated as good if it performs its role of reaching to an end. Also it may be designated as bad if it corresponds to a drawback in that process and intention. This contextually relates drawing to the discipline that is serving at the time. For example, a good architectural drawing is not good in the same sense as a children’s illustration drawing.

27However, it is more challenging to think of goodness and badness as evident in drawing no matter what its purpose is. That would help us to define a territory of drawing itself with no relation with other arts or designs. That’s why it is very important to consider virtue or, for this matter, any other concept that shifted from the ethical domain to the aesthetical domain. Stressing also that when we raised the original question we were thinking of ethics aesthetically and vice versa.

28Another conclusion is that, while considering drawings instead of its procedures, goodness is contingent and influenced by the aesthetical ethics of the time. Why? Because the general moral of the time is the only framework, outside the specific disciplines, that allow us to read the drawing as good or bad. Other than this contingency, one can only admit or assume that, in order to have a timeless notion of goodness and badness for drawing, there was a period in which these concepts were melted. Our hypothesis is that the outcome of such melting is still pertinent.

29All was decided in the period when goodness in drawing moved from Virtue to Fortuna, from schemata to schizzi, from the thoughtful to the inspirational. Clearly, the two extremes of goodness were extremes of badness for each other. Nevertheless they ought soon be integrated and goodness in clarity became coexistent with goodness in velocity. So, when is a drawing good and, if not, when is it bad? We may here articulate some possible responses:

301st – when we see the drawing as part of a process and it is contributing to a desired and intended outcome.

312nd – when we see the drawing as if it was part of a process and it looks that it would contribute to a desired outcome.

323d – when we see the drawing looking like other drawings established under the label of goodness for many years. (Virtuous or Fortunate).

33In spite of these conditions, let us stress again that the period between the early 1400’s and 1600’s witnessed a great interest in drawing as disegno but soon engravings of all sorts created a kind of petrified drawing that would substitute a la prima action. Whilst Rembrandt was still an experimentalist regarding the art of multiples, Piranesi controlled the process taking no chances. With the dissemination of printing, mostly monochromatic, a new object closer to drawing appeared and determined the emergence of drawing as drawing and not as something in the progress towards a work of art. Like prints and engravings, drawings gained the way up into the walls for admiration in a process of “greyish-ing” pictorial representation that prepared the emergence of photography.

34Goodness, badness and drawing are obviously the key themes of peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman Contract. Drawings are so good that are instruments for evil deeds. Because of the drawings, the draughtsman exerts his power over the household and even over the house matron. In the end he is defeated because he was unaware of how elusive was his power. The drawings as an end in itself were corrupt and were vehicle of corruption. In the end, the artist is the victim… bad drawings, bad.

Ricostruzione digitale della presunta configurazione originaria dell’Isola Tiberina, sulla base dei disegni elaborati da René Patouillard-Demoriane (1867-1957), vincitore del Gran Prix de Rome nel 1898. Elaborazioni di Elena Trevisan. © Università Iuav di Venezia.

Torna su


Alberti, L.B.

1435, De Pictura, available at online library LiberLiber, [link non raggiungibile 24/05/2017] accessed in April, 26th 2008

1440 (ca.), Momo, o del Principe, available at online library LiberLiber, [link non raggiungibile 24/05/2017], accessed April 29th, 2008

Barzman, K.

2000, The Florentine Academy and the Early Modern State, the Discipline of Disegno,

Cambridge (mass.), Cambridge University Press

Blunt, A.

1978, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-600, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Cennini, C.

1982, Il Libro dell´Arte, Commentato e annotato da Franco Brunello con una prefazione di L. Magagnato, Vicenza, Neri Pozza

Collobi Ragghianti, L.

1974, Il Libro de’ Disegni del Vasari. Firenze, Vallechi

De Tolnay, C.

1964, Disegni di Michelangelo, 103 Disegni in Facsimile, Cassa Centrale di Risparmo VE per le provincie Siciliane

Gibbon, E.

1960, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, Chatto & Windus

Griseri, A.

1980, Il Disegno, in Storia dell’Arte Italiana, torino, Einaudi

Hauser, A.

1965, Mannerism, The Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art. Cambridge, Harvard University Press

Hirst, M.

1988, Michelangelo and his Drawings, new haven-London, Yale University Press

Rykwert, J., Leach, N., Travernor, R.

1988, Leon Battista Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, Cambridge (mass.), mit Press

Smith, C.

–1992, Profugiorum ab Aerumna, libri III, Architectural Allegories of Virtue in a Dialogue by Leon Battista Alberti”, in Architecture in the Culture of Early Humanism, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Vasari, G.

1986, Le Vite de’ più Eccellenti Architetti, Pittori, et Scultori Italiani, da Cimabue, insino a’ Tempi Nostri [1550], Torino, Einaudi

Wazbinski, Z.

1984, L’Accademia Medicea del Disegno a Firenze nel Cinquecento, Idea e Istituzione, Accademia toscana di Scienze e Lettere “La Colombaia”, Firenze, Olschki

Zuccari, F.

1607, L’Idea de’ Pittori, Scultori et Architetti, del Cavalier Federico Zuccaro, Divisa in due Libri, Torino

Torna su


1 Cennino 1982.

2 Ibidem: 10.

3 Alberti 1435.

4 Smith 1992.

5 Gibbon 1960: 485-486.

6 Alberti 1440.

7 Ibidem: 78.

8 Ibidem: 84.

9 Ibidem: 85.

10 Alberti 1465: 13.

11 Ibidem: 13.

12 Ibidem: 13. unless otherwise stated, all translations into English are ours.

13 Cennini 1982: 7-21.

14 Rykwert et al. 1988: 422-423.

15 Alberti 1435: 43.

16 Ibidem: 19.

17 Ibidem: 19. Our own emphasis.

18 Vasari 1550: 913, § 991. «When the funerary monument of Giulio was finishing, Michelangelo instructed a stonemason to conclude a portion that later in S. Pietro in Vincoli was placed, saying: “Sculpt this today, flatten here, clean over there” in a way that the stonemason without knowing it, made a figure. When finished and the stonemason gazed at it in wonder, Michelangelo told him: “what do think of it?” “According to me, it looks very well – answers him – and I’m much obliged to you.” “And why?” asks Michelangelo. “Because I found by your intervention a virtue that I do not knew to possess”».

19 Blunt 1978: 74-75.

20 Hirst 1988; De Tolnay 1964.

21 Wazbinsky 1984: 105. «At the emancipation of the “non-finito” contributed the theory of Art that favoured the intellectual aspects of creation, there is, that placed the idea, the conception and the concept above the artistic concretisation. A clear reflex of this situation in Tuscany was the concept of “disegno”. What mattered most was the idea or the simplest expression fixed in the disegno was greatly valued».

22 Barzman 2000: 23-59

23 1564, cited by Hauser 1965: 64.

24 Griseri 1980.

25 Vasari 1550. «Schizzi we call a first sort of drawings that are made for finding the way of the attitudes and the first composition of the work. And are made in the way of a stain, suggested only by us in one draft of the whole. And since these, from the fury of the artist are in a short while expressed, universally are called schizzi because they came dabbling [schizzando] or with the pen or any other drawing instrument or carbon, in a manner that these are useful only for trying to achieve the essence of what it will be».

26 Collobi Ragghianti 1974.

27 Zuccari 1607.

Torna su

Indice delle illustrazioni

Legenda Ricostruzione digitale della presunta configurazione originaria dell’Isola Tiberina, sulla base dei disegni elaborati da René Patouillard-Demoriane (1867-1957), vincitore del Gran Prix de Rome nel 1898. Elaborazioni di Elena Trevisan. © Università Iuav di Venezia.
File image/jpeg, 1,6M
Torna su

Per citare questo articolo

Notizia bibliografica

Eduardo Côrte-Real e Susana Oliveira, «From Alberti’s virtù to the virtuoso Michelangelo. Questions on a concept that moved from ethics to aesthetics through drawing»Rivista di estetica, 47 | 2011, 83-93.

Notizia bibliografica digitale

Eduardo Côrte-Real e Susana Oliveira, «From Alberti’s virtù to the virtuoso Michelangelo. Questions on a concept that moved from ethics to aesthetics through drawing»Rivista di estetica [Online], 47 | 2011, online dal 30 novembre 2015, consultato il 23 juin 2024. URL:; DOI:

Torna su

Diritti d’autore


Solamente il testo è utilizzabile con licenza CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Salvo diversa indicazione, per tutti agli altri elementi (illustrazioni, allegati importati) la copia non è autorizzata ("Tutti i diritti riservati").

Torna su
Cerca su OpenEdition Search

Sarai reindirizzato su OpenEdition Search