Artibus et Historiae no. 48 (XXIV)

2003, ISSN 0391-9064

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PHILIPP P. FEHL - Mantegna's "Mother of the Virtues"

The present article continues the main problem expounded in the previous one, devoted to the Praise in the History of Art and Its Fate. This time the authors tries to deal with the issue of finding the right measure in praising. Andrea Mantegna's famous painting Pallas Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtues (Paris, Louvre) serves him as a means to present his answer to that question, since the painting itself shows the praise of the virtues. The author evokes the figure of Philostratus the Elder, the ancient master of ekphrasis, and the author of Imagines, talking to his companion, a young 10-year-old boy, thus presenting the reader with a masterly dialogue between the two "ghosts", in which the veiled message of the picture becomes clear, and consequently - we can learn the answer to the problem posed at the beginning.

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