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The House of Art

Modern Residences of Artists as the Subject and Space of Creation

Andrzej Pieńkos

The term «house of art» designates the cultural phenomenon and creative mode in modernity associated with an artist’s residence as his own creation and as his product of a need to create which is unfulfilled in the painter’s, writer’s or composer’s actual field. This book discusses the most important of these creations from the 18 th century to the beginning of the 20 th , including gardens as well as the artist’s space, broadly understood, annexed by his imagination. An artist’s shaping of his own residence was most commonly a secondary area of his creative work. The formula for a «house of art» is specific to the particular artist and does not have to fit within any given architectural or decorative style. It may conform to the traditions of a residence (artist’s palace, cottage etc), but most often it forms an individual case.

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Chapter 1: The “artist’s house”. The rise and twilight of the concept

Extract

23 Chapter 1: The “artist’s house”. The rise and twilight of the concept The concept of the “artist’s house” clearly derives from the humanist model of culture that emerged in Italy in the 15th century. The archetype of a great master worthy of having his own house and being both materially and spiritually capa- ble of giving it an outstanding quality began to materialise in that period. At the same time, the ancient ideal of a place of creation, albeit creation that was still most often identified with intellectual effort, was not only recalled and then de- fined in theory but also carried out in practice, in the initially rare but invariably noteworthy edifices. Some features of this ideal are revealed by images of the studios of St. Augustine and St. Hieronymus, for instance in paintings by Vittore Carpaccio and Antonello da Messina, frescoes by Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio (Fig. 2), copperplate by Albrecht Dürer, etc., or of the ancient philosophers and scholars, for instance in Federico da Montefeltro’s studiolo in the palace of Urbino.27 The idea of solitude and isolation in a residential space filled with attributes of intel- lectual effort (or artistic production) was supported by the mediaeval ideal of work in monastic seclusion and, principally, by the ideal of the creator’s solitude as derived from ancient sources. It was precisely this ideal that was revived at the dawn of the modern era, with references to the entire earlier tradition, by Francesco Petrarca in the treatise...

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