Leonardo da Vinci's Paragone

A Critical Interpretation with a New Edition of the Text in the Codex Urbinas


Author: Claire Farago
Leonardo da Vinci's arguments for the supremacy of painting over the arts of poetry, music, and sculpture address issues that have been relevant to debates over the nature of representation since the time Plato discussed imitation until today, maintains Claire Farago in this wide-ranging critical analysis of the first important modern contribution to the comparison of the arts. This study systematically examines 46 passages compiled in the mid-sixteenth century from eighteen of Leonardo's notebooks and their relationship to the artist's holograph writings on painting, providing a critical transcription newly made from the Codex Vaticanus Urbinas 1270 and a new English translation with extensive notes that take into account Leonardo's scientific terminology, the highly contrived form of his rhetorical argumentation, and the role played by his original editors.

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Claire J. Farago is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, University of Colorado, Boulder.
'This book...rewards the serious student of Leonardo's writings with a sense of the richness of the artist's thoughts, their many sources of inspiration... Claire J. Farago's book brings us closer to realizing the comprehensiveness of Leonardo's musings.'
Jane Andrews Aiken, Journal of Medieval Studies, 1995.
(post)graduates and scholars of Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.