Honoré de Balzac has always been interested in arts during his life: from the illustrations for La Comédie humaine to the figure of the artist as main character of his novels, Balzac tried to transpose the visual arts in his writing. In particular, his technique of description is really interesting: Balzac loved completing his characters’ descriptions with a reference to a masterpiece of the Holland or Italian painting. But in a lot of cases the description of the character is not an ekphrasis of the portrait: there’s something like a «comedy of the description» in which the words that build the character play with the masterpiece referred to. The main example is the vieil antiquaire of La Peau de chagrin, «sec et maigre», dressed in dark, who is compared to the plump red dressed «Peseur d’or» of Gérard Dow. The variance is a mask that play with the museum of knowledges of the reader. Yet, the portrait is in an antithetical relationship with the description of the text just as signifier: the narrative and painted character make a complementary image thanks to the symbolic meaning of the two clashing colors, red and black, that symbolized the two ways of the Case. Therefore, Balzac’s technique could be defined, with a pictorial lexicon, as a «capriccio», in the sense that André Corboz has given: play, but also connivance, of an imaginary and a literary device. Imaginary of the text, that is accomplice of the literariness of the image; connivance with the reader, invited to recognize the difference in order to recognize the symbolic level. Aim of the article is to give some examples of this «comedy of the description» in La Comédie humaine and to analyze how the technique of the «capriccio» is transposed in Balzac’s style.

La Comédie de la descritpion. "Capricci" balzachiani

BARONI, SILVIA
2016

Abstract

Honoré de Balzac has always been interested in arts during his life: from the illustrations for La Comédie humaine to the figure of the artist as main character of his novels, Balzac tried to transpose the visual arts in his writing. In particular, his technique of description is really interesting: Balzac loved completing his characters’ descriptions with a reference to a masterpiece of the Holland or Italian painting. But in a lot of cases the description of the character is not an ekphrasis of the portrait: there’s something like a «comedy of the description» in which the words that build the character play with the masterpiece referred to. The main example is the vieil antiquaire of La Peau de chagrin, «sec et maigre», dressed in dark, who is compared to the plump red dressed «Peseur d’or» of Gérard Dow. The variance is a mask that play with the museum of knowledges of the reader. Yet, the portrait is in an antithetical relationship with the description of the text just as signifier: the narrative and painted character make a complementary image thanks to the symbolic meaning of the two clashing colors, red and black, that symbolized the two ways of the Case. Therefore, Balzac’s technique could be defined, with a pictorial lexicon, as a «capriccio», in the sense that André Corboz has given: play, but also connivance, of an imaginary and a literary device. Imaginary of the text, that is accomplice of the literariness of the image; connivance with the reader, invited to recognize the difference in order to recognize the symbolic level. Aim of the article is to give some examples of this «comedy of the description» in La Comédie humaine and to analyze how the technique of the «capriccio» is transposed in Balzac’s style.
Silvia Baroni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/665856
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