IDEAS IN MEDIEVAL ART. I posted here about how contemporary critics like Peter Schjeldahl look for art to express ideas, just as Baudelaire did. The belief that art should express ideas goes back a lot farther. Medieval art was expected to express the religious beliefs of the Catholic church. The questions asked of Veronese by the Inquisition were searching out whether the painting might be expressing Protestant ideas rather than Catholic ones. It was taken for granted that what was in a painting must signify ideas. The questioners asked: “[W]hat signifies the figure of him whose nose is bleeding?” and ” What signify those armed men dressed in the fashion of Germany, with halberds in their hands?” Veronese attempted to parry the questions by asserting an artist’s view that not everything in a painting is there to express an idea.

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