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Peltae subacquee e specchiature marmoree

La forma dell’acqua tra storia dell’arte e filosofia

Luca Marchetti    Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia    

Beatrice Spampinato    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



This paper focuses on two canonical representations of water in 12th-century Venetian churches: (i) the so-called ‘peltae pattern’, usually defined as ‘geometric decoration’ and recognized as the symbol of water; and (ii) the ‘marble slab’, usually included among non-iconic decorations and recognized as il mare. Why did the medieval masters represent the same natural element in the same type of location in these two different ways? Our hypothesis is that (i) represented the turbulent water of terrestrial life, while (ii) represented heavenly water. We argue that support for both claims can be found by retracing the sources of the two decorative models and looking at them from an art historical point of view, and by analyzing them from a philosophical and perceptological standpoint in order to retrieve universal perceptual patterns that can sustain the iconological reading.

keywords: Shape of water. Peltae pattern. Marble slab. Visual perception. Medieval mosaic floor.

Language: it

Published: Dec. 22, 2020  
permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/978-88-6969-462-2/003

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License