Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Horace did remark "ut pictura poesis," as in painting so

poetry. But the rest of the pronouncement, rarely quoted, - "one

work seizes your fancy if you stand close to it, another if you

stand at a distance" - refers to how the arts can been viewed

from similar angles, not that the arts are essentially created

with the same purposes. Yet, misreadings of that quotation

began a history of debate over the qualities of painting and

poetry. In particular the eighteenth century became a

battleground over the ut pictura poesis formula. To the modern

reader, this controversy may seem rather ridiculous. How could

anyone believe that the visual aspects of painting resembled the

abstract concepts of poetry? Yet this debate of over two hundred

years ago created the foundation for various modern ways of

thinking about art. This controversy set in motion a perpetual

question over the limits, purposes, sources, and standards of

artworks, and established a vocabulary to talk about these


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