Words For Pictures

Again interrelation between words and images.

I found a book by Michael Baxandall about Renaissance Art and Criticism.

On page 8-11 he describes The Topics, or Common Places of Invention, a set of headings one can use as an index to stimulate thinking about any subject. Baxandall lists a set of 24 Topics from Rudolph Agricola, De inventione dialectica, (ed. Alardus, Cologne 1539). “the structure is above all an exploration of relationships, internal and external, in and of whatever entity one is thinking about.”

What interests me is that it shows a Renaissance thinking, a disecting and catalogueing of elements.  These separate elements become then the spring board for further exploration. The Topics and its structure of relationships creates a neat bridge between the two modes of thinking one has to apply in  a practice based research project: a systematic and a creative, experiencial way of thinking.

24 Topics:

1. Internal

1.1 Inherent in the thing in question

Definition, Genus, Species, Property, Whole, Parts

1.2 Modes of being

Adjacents, Actions, Subject

2. External

2.1 Necessarily conjoined

2.1.1 Cognates (Always present)

Efficient cause, Final cause, Effects, Dedicated

2.1.2 Extrinsic but habitual relations

Place, Time, Connections

2.2 Not Necessarily conjoined

2.2.1 Accidentals

Contingents, Etymology, Dictum, Comparisons, Similars

2.2.2 Repugnants

Opposites, Differents



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