Reference number: OPUSeJ 201210211802BBC
Editor’s note: OPUSeJ is pleased to welcome this particular manuscript as the first to appear as a Discussion Paper for open-review. The paper is innovative and should be of interest to scholars from a variety of disciplines who are invited to leave constructive criticism in the comments section. The work on the protagonists involved with the rise of Baroque Art in Bologna would be of value by its own merit. However, the use of Complexity Science to analyse this phenomenon is unique and pioneering. It is reminiscent of the use of Psychoanalysis in Literary Criticism.
Methods used in Complexity Science to study systems is well established in Mathematics and Science and is making inroads in Sociology but is largely absent in the Humanities. Western Art, from the late Gothic, through the Renaissance to the present time along with the historical context is well documented. In particular the structure of the schools of art, with their generations of master and student, along with the evolution of the art they produced, provides us with a wealth of data to study.
The approach is qualitative but the findings in this paper are also an interesting point of departure for anyone who would wish to make a quantitative study of the complexity theory framework behind the findings.
Fat City: Siting Bologna in the Region of Complexity and the Beginning of Baroque
Abstract: This paper considers the question: why was Bologna the place where a ‘reform’ of art occurred that resulted in the shift from Mannerist to Baroque style in the sixteenth century? The method of analysis of Bolognese culture and society is derived from the emerging field of Complexity Science which seeks to explain change in the physical world by examining movements within complex systems. Applying this theory to social structures, three different states are distinguished—chaos, complexity, and order. Using this method it is possible to see how unexpected occurrences fostered shifts in the political and social culture that in turn opened up a static, closed system to influences from beyond the borders of the city-state. Focusing on the influence of key figures of the period, significant movements are analyzed: in politics with the Papal Legate Cardinal Paleotti; in science with a new emphasis on observation of the natural world with Ulisse Aldrovandi; in popular culture with the poet of the street, Giulio Cesare Croce; and in the reactions against the well-established style of the Mannerists with the Carracci family of artists. Considering the far-reaching effects of these shifts, we expose the intellectual, social, and institutional connections that fueled new directions for art and culture. For what seems like a moment in history, Bologna provided a situation of complexity that was needed for these new directions to take hold. All too quickly the success of the Bolognese production became highly ordered and at the turn of the 17th century, the excitement of the new shifted to Rome.
Reviewer 1 – B2. Suitable for review but needs some revision before recommending publication.
Reviewer 2 – B2. Suitable for review but needs some revision before recommending publication.
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