Header Ads

On Gusto: William Hazlitt’s view on Michael Angelo’s forms and Titian’s landscapes

On Gusto: William Hazlitt’s view on Michael Angelo’s forms and Titian’s landscapes

On Gusto: William Hazlitt’s view on Michael Angelo’s forms and Titian’s landscapes

Q. How does Hazlitt describe Michael Angelo’s forms and Titian’s landscapes? Discuss with suitable references to the essay “On Gusto”.

Answer: William Hazlitt was the 18th-century English essayist and literary critic. In his essay "On Gusto", Hazlitt discusses the artistic styles of two great Renaissance artists, Michelangelo and Titian. In this essay, he explores the concept of "gusto" in art, which he defines as the power of giving an uncommon truth and force to common subjects. In this context, Hazlitt provides distinct descriptions of Michelangelo's forms and Titian's landscapes, shedding light on their artistic styles and merits.

Michelangelo's Forms:

Hazlitt has a profound admiration for Michelangelo's forms and his ability to infuse them with a sense of sublime and elevated grandeur. He sees Michelangelo as a master of the sublime and the heroic in art. Hazlitt writes:

"He [Michelangelo] had great power, an intense depth of feeling, and extraordinary gravity. His heads are full of the character of the subject. There is a story told of his having paid a butcher in the market-place at Florence for some pieces of a hide, with the pieces of silver, marked with his own image and superscription, which he had received in payment for his works, and upon which he set no small value. The whole system of his art was to give the utmost conceivable grandeur and effect to the common and customary objects of nature. Such objects were not enough for his ambition, unless he could convert them into the darkest and most terrific symbols of the same kind."

Hazlitt highlights Michelangelo's ability to elevate ordinary subjects to the level of the heroic and the symbolic. He was able to infuse his sculptures with an intensity of emotion and expression that transcended the mundane.

Titian's Landscapes:

Hazlitt also discusses Titian's landscapes, and he praises Titian's ability to capture the beauty and serenity of nature. While Titian is primarily known for his portraits and religious paintings, he also excelled in depicting the natural world. Hazlitt writes:

"Titian was the painter of nature; he was, indeed, the only painter of nature. He delighted in the smallest details, and gave truth and force to the most common objects. His landscapes have a peculiar character of their own. They have that mild, thoughtful tone, and clear depth of tint, which gives an expression of the finest nature. It is the same under every aspect, with every variety of light and shade, in all the elements. It speaks the same language, and conveys the same feeling everywhere."

Hazlitt admires Titian's ability to convey the beauty and harmony of the natural world in his landscapes. He sees Titian as a master of capturing the essence of nature and infusing it with a sense of calm and tranquility.

In "On Gusto," Hazlitt is emphasizing the idea that true artistry lies in the artist's ability to take common or ordinary subjects and elevate them to a higher plane, whether through the grandeur of Michelangelo's forms or the serene beauty of Titian's landscapes. These artists, according to Hazlitt, possessed the "gusto" or the ability to imbue their works with extraordinary power and truths, making them stand out as masterpieces in the world of art.


Read also:

👉 T. S. Eliot’s concept of the Impersonal theory of poetry 

👉 Aristotle's Poetics | views on the plot of tragedy and its relative importance  

👉 Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings | William Wordsworth 

👉 Received Pronunciation (RP) | Distinctive features, criteria and major problems  

👉 Speech mechanism | the functions of the various organs of speech  

👉 Development of the English language | from the Anglo-Saxon to the Modern period  

👉 Anglo-Saxon Christian Poetry | or Religious Poetry  

Post a Comment