Firmare un'opera come se fosse l'ultima: l'imperfetto e l'incompiuto in Plinio il Vecchio
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 118, 2018
This article focuses on the analysis of the preface of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. Pliny expresses the desire to gain acceptance on the example of the most famous founders of painting and sculpture. In fact, when they completed their works ‒ even those, as Pliny says, that we are not yet tired of admiring ‒ they signed them with a provisional inscription, such as Apelles faciebat aut Polyclitus, as if their art was always in process and not completed. Thus, when faced by the vagaries of criticism, the artist still had a line of retreat to indulgence, implying that he/she had the intention to correct any defect, if not interrupted. In addition, the article examines the various forms of unfinished works of the ancient world and their causes, through numerous comparanda in ancient literature. Incidentally, some famous paintings, including one by Apelles, were even more admired because of their incompleteness.