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The Roman Limekilns of the Bamboccianti

David A. Levine
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 70, No. 4 (Dec., 1988), pp. 569-589
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3051103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3051103
Page Count: 21
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The Roman Limekilns of the Bamboccianti
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Abstract

Pieter van Laer and his followers - the so-called Bamboccianti - have usually been interpreted as realists or near-realists who painted simple, unassuming scenes of everyday life in seventeenth-century Rome. The testimony of their earliest critics gives us reason to suspect, however, that the Bamboccianti were actually pursuing a contrived form of painting that expressed meaning through irony and paradox. This idea is tested by examining one theme treated frequently by the artists in question - limekilns in Roman settings. By witty allusion to both the destruction and persistence of antiquity, pictures of Roman limekilns lead the viewer to contemplate a paradox regarding the nature of greatness and eternity.

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