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The European art of wit

Posted on 27/02/2012
Portrait of Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658)

A seminar exploring the European art of wit will be hosted by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London this week.

Dr Rodrigo Cacho, from the University of Cambridge, will be giving the seminar, The European Art of Wit: Visual and Literary Conceits from Titian to Gracián’, on Wednesday 29 February.

The end of the 16th century was at the centre of several crucial epistemological and artistic revolutions. The rise of Skepticism and the Galilean discoveries called into question several of the accepted ideas that formed the base of the Renaissance mentality.

‘Conceptism‘ is the face of this paradigmatic shift in regards to literature and language. Authors such as Gracián and Tesauro wrote poetics for this new age, where the idea of wit dominated the production of literature.

Agudeza and Ingenio were the driving forces who stimulated the creation of conceits that allowed the establishment of unexpected and often impossible connections between different ideas and objects. Conceptist art proliferated both in European painting and poetry, crafting a fictional world ruled by the principles of wit, which both follow and subvert the limits of reality and perception.

This paper will seek to explore some of these ideas in connection to art and literature in Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries.

The seminar will be held in Windsor 005 at 5pm on Wednesday 29 February. All are welcome.


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