Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo


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(b Milan, 26 Apr. 1538; d Milan, 13 Feb. 1600).

Milanese painter and writer. At the age of 33 he went blind and thereafter devoted himself to writing, publishing two treatises on art: Trattato dell'arte de la pittura, scoltura, et architettura (1584) and Idea del tempio della pittura (1590). The Trattato is the largest and most comprehensive treatise on art published in the 16th century and has been described as ‘the Bible of Mannerism’. It is divided into seven books, whose themes are Proportion, Motion, Colour, Light, Perspective, Practice, and History, the last containing a guide to Christian and classical iconography. Throughout the book runs the assumption that the arts can be taught by detailed precepts. It was widely influential and an English translation by the Oxford physician Richard Haydocke was published in 1598, entitled A Tracte Containing the Artes of Curious Paintinge, Carvinge & Buildinge. The translation adds details of English artists such as Hilliard not mentioned in the original. Lomazzo's second treatise is a shorter and more abstract work; he also wrote poetry and treatises on other subjects. An example of his rare surviving paintings is a self-portrait (1568) in the Brera, Milan.

Subjects: Art.

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