The Understanding of Ornament in the Italian Renaissance
Clare Lapraik Guest
In this paradigm shifting study, developed through close textual readings and sensitive analysis of artworks, Clare Lapraik Guest re-evaluates the central role of ornament in pre-modern art and literature. Moving from art and thought in antiquity to the Italian Renaissance, she examines the understandings of ornament arising from the Platonic, Aristotelian and Sophistic traditions, and the tensions which emerged from these varied meanings. The book views the Renaissance as a decisive point in the story of ornament, when its subsequent identification with style and historicism are established. It asserts ornament as a fundamental, not an accessory element in art and presents its restoration to theoretical dignity as essential to historical scholarship and aesthetic reflection.