Google full text of our books:


Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth:
Vico and Neapolitan Painting
Malcolm Bull

Hardcover | 2013 | $30.95 | £25.95 | ISBN: 9780691138848
160 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 31 halftones.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400849741 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Prologue[PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

Can painting transform philosophy? In Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth, Malcolm Bull looks at Neapolitan art around 1700 through the eyes of the philosopher Giambattista Vico. Surrounded by extravagant examples of late Baroque painting by artists like Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena, Vico concluded that human truth was a product of the imagination. Truth was not something that could be observed: instead, it was something made in the way that paintings were made--through the exercise of fantasy.

Juxtaposing paintings and texts, Bull presents the masterpieces of late Baroque painting in early eighteenth-century Naples from an entirely new perspective. Revealing the close connections between the arguments of the philosophers and the arguments of the painters, he shows how Vico drew on both in his influential philosophy of history, The New Science. Bull suggests that painting can serve not just as an illustration for philosophical arguments, but also as the model for them--that painting itself has sometimes been a form of epistemological experiment, and that, perhaps surprisingly, the Neapolitan Baroque may have been one of the routes through which modern consciousness was formed.


"[A] highly compelling account of an important subject. . . . Bull is to be congratulated on presenting such a thought-provoking study . . . welcome addition to the study of early modern art and thought."--Alexander Marr, Apollo

"[T]antalizingly meaty."--Choice

"[A]rt historians and critics will find in it a fascinating account of how paintings can initiate and/or facilitate philosophical reflection."--Giorgio Baruchello, European Legacy

"This is a daring and highly imaginative book."--Helen Langdon, Burlington Magazine

"Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth offers intriguing analyses of painting along with acute close readings of Vico’s writings with a fruitful interdisciplinary approach. . . . An accomplished, concise, and intelligently focused account."--Maria Fabricius Hansen, CAA Reviews


"Bull is a scholar with a gift for traversing traditional disciplinary boundaries, and his book acknowledges, as has rarely been done before, the wide philosophical dimensions of artistic practice in the 'long seventeenth century.' Given its originality of focus, this synthesis helps reconceptualize the period in a new way."--Tom Nichols, University of Glasgow

"Malcolm Bull is an extraordinary writer--lucid, far reaching, and entirely original. His book explains how painting does not merely provide the subject for philosophical debate when we interpret, but also, quite by itself, manifests a form of philosophical thinking. In what way do the fantasies represented in art manifest a truthful way of thinking? This book offers the answer."--David Carrier, coauthor of Wild Art

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue xi
ONE Vico 1
TWO Icastic Painting 43
THREE Fantastic Painting 69
FOUR Theological Painting 101
Epilogue 121
Notes 127
Index 141


Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Hardcover : $30.95 ISBN: 9780691138848

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £25.95 ISBN: 9780691138848

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 9/7/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    European History
    More Choices