Artibus et Historiae no. 31 (XVI)1995, ISSN 0391-9064
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PATRICIA EMISON - The Paysage Moralisé
Erwin Panofsky invented the term paysage moralisé and applied it in the interpretation of three paintings: Raphael's Allegory (Dream of a Knight), Piero di Cosimo's The Discovery of Honey, and Titian's Sacred and Profane Love. He was mimicked to some degree by such authorities as Miliard Meiss and Frederick Hartt ("Carpaccio's Meditation on the Passion"); Mantegna's Madonna of the Rock. This type of interpretation - although it has to recommend it an allowance for some admixture of moral doubt in the otherwise sunny world of Renaissance theories of virtue as they are usually reconstructed - reeks of ideological concerns (personal, philosophical, and political) of the 1930s-1950s and 60s. Panofsky's interpretations have often been rejected piecemeal since, but the bi-polar model of Renaissance morality they implied remains largely unchallenged. A tension between, and potential for conflation of, the concepts of paysage moralisé and disguised or concealed symbolism is also discussed.