Landscape all'Antica and Topographical Anachronism in Roman Fresco Painting of the Sixteenth Century
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofJournal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes ; vol. 71, pp. 211-237.
Anachronistic topographical landscapes of the 16th century can be understood as “symptoms” of a “way of seeing” affected by the human psyche and by memory. Many topographical landscapes all'antica in fresco paintings of the 16th century relied on anachronism as their main principle, juxtaposing in a single image or series of images elements belonging to different periods, therefore making the representation of space an image of time. Rather than aspiring to the status of ontological representation — an objective “truth” associated with topographical depiction in the 16th century — these images display “reality” as conditioned by its human perspective: activated by the properties of a layered memory. Painting thus becomes a form of knowledge, an interpretation of reality based on rhetorical and propagandistic necessity.