Idea of the Temple of Painting by Giovan Paolo LomazzoIdea of the Temple of Painting by Giovan Paolo Lomazzo

Idea of the Temple of Painting

byGiovan Paolo LomazzoEdited and translated byJean Julia Chai

Hardcover | June 12, 2013

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 550 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


Perhaps the most imaginative writer on art in the sixteenth century, Giovan Paolo Lomazzo was also an ambitious painter, well-informed critic, and sarcastic wit: he proved a lively adversary for Vasari, Dolce, and even Aretino. His greatest contribution to the history of art is his special treatment of expression and, in its more mature form, self-expression. The image of the Temple of Painting embodies all his essential thoughts about art. Housing statues of Michelangelo, Gaudenzio Ferrari, Polidoro da Caravaggio, Leonardo, Raphael, Mantegna, and Titian—paradigms of style and, for Lomazzo, the seven greatest painters in the world—it guides the novice in the discovery of a unique style that matches his own temperament. Idea of the Temple of Painting (1590), written as a pithy introduction to the encyclopedic Trattato dell’arte della pittura, demonstrates why art is all about expressing an individual style, or maniera. Neither spontaneous nor unconscious, style reflects the rational process of adapting all the elements of painting into a harmonious whole. This treatise also represents a rare historical document. Presiding over an original confraternity of artists and humanists, Lomazzo actively participated in the Milan art scene, which is vividly brought to life by his personal commentaries. This is the first translation of any of his treatises into English.

Jean Julia Chai is a translator and lives in Paris. She received her Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University.Jean Julia Chai is a translator and lives in Paris. She received her Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University.
Title:Idea of the Temple of PaintingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:276 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.01 inPublished:June 12, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271059532

ISBN - 13:9780271059532


Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


On the Translation


1 The Temple of Painting: A Mnemonic Image

2 Artist, Academician, and Dreamer

3 Discernment in Painting

4 From Moto to Maniera

5 An Aesthetics of Fascination

6 The Delayed Reaction

Idea of the Temple of Painting




Editorial Reviews

“What is startlingly new in both the Trattato and the Idea is Lomazzo’s theory of human movement and expressive emotions, and this contribution is expertly evaluated by Chai. She rightly says that Lomazzo’s ‘choosing the right expression’ in his theory of ‘represented emotions’ ‘was not just a matter of proper decorum; it included dialoguing with the divine’. . . . Today, with Chai’s guidance, we can read this author as an artist fascinated by the imagined and represented human body—and its subtle control through the pseudosciences of astrology and physiognomy—and the artistic and ecclesiastical decorum of the day.”—Robert W. Gaston, Renaissance Quarterly