From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

ALLEGORY (from the Greek aXXo9 something else, and ayoQstr, to speak); a figurative representation, in which the signs (words or forms) signify something besides their literal or direct meaning. Irony is distinguished from allegory by conveying a meaning directly contrary to the literal signification of the words, while in allegory there is an agreement between the literal and the figurative sense, each of which is complete in itself. The allegory should be so constructed as to express its meaning clearly and strikingly; and the more clear and striking the meaning is, the better is the allegory. All of the fine arts have, to a certain degree, an allegorical character, because, in all, the visible signs generally represent something higher,the ideal; but, in the narrower sense of allegory, its object is to convey a meaning of a particular character by means of signs of an analogous import. The allegory, moreover, ought to represent an ensemble, by which it is distinguished from the trope or metaphor and the conventional symbol. The last differs from the allegory, also, in this particular, that its character could not be understood, if it had not been previously agreed upon. For instance, the olivebranch would not convey ¬¶the idea of peace if it had not been adopted as its sign. From all which has been said, it is clear that the allegory can take place in rhetoric, poetry, sculpture, painting and pantomime, but never in music or architecture, because these two arts are not capable of conveying a double meaning in their representations. As an instance of allegory in poetry, Prior's verses from Henry and Emma may serve ; Did I but purpose to embark with thee On the smooth surface of a summer's sea, While gentle zephyrs play with prosperous gales, And fortune's favor fills the swelling sails, But would forsake the ship, and make the shore, When the winds whistle, and the tempests roar 1or the often quoted ode 1,14 of Horace. An instance of allegory in painting or sculpture is the representation of peace by two turtledoves sitting on their nest in a helmet or a piece of ordnance; or Guido's representation of Fortuna. The representation of an allegory ought always to lead directly to its figurative meaning; thus a warrior throwing the doves out of a helmet would be a bad allegory of war; a good one would be a husbandman making a weapon out of his sithe. In rhetoric, allegory is often but a continued metaphor. The symbolic and allegoric representation often come very near to each other, and sometimes it is hard to say to which a piece of art most inclines. This is the case, for instance, with the beautiful representations of Justice, Poetry, &c, by Raphael, in the Vatican. Parables and fables are a species of allegory ; e. g. the beautiful parable in one of the tales in the Arabian Nights, in which the three religions, the Mohammedan, Jewish and Christian, are compared to three similar rings, bequeathed to three brothers by their father. This allegory has been repeated by Boccaccio in a tale of his Decameron, and by Lessing in his Nathan the Wise. Allegory in rhetoric was used by the most ancient nations, because it is well fitted to express an elevated state of feeling, and, at the same time, to give somewhat of the charm of novelty to ideas at once common and important. Addison truly says, "Allegories, when well chosen, are like so many tracts of light hi a discourse, that make eveiy thing about them clear and beautiful." In painting and sculpture, however, the ancients made by no means so much use of allegory as the modern artists, partly owing to their greater facility of expressing certain ideas by means of the stories and the images of their different gods, who all more or less represented a single idea. The moderns have no such copious stores of illustration, the Protestants particularly, who are not familiar with the multitude of Catholic saints and legends ; thus they are often obliged to express single ideas by allegory. Another cause of the greater prevalence of allegory in modern times is to be found in the circumstance, that allegory is always more cultivated in the period of the decline of the arts, when the want of great and pure and simple conceptions of the beautiful is supplied by studied and ingenious inventions, as well as in the fact, that the ancients were more exclusively conversant with simple ideas than the moderns, among whom the relations of society are much more complicated, and every branch of science, art and social life more fully developed. Sometimes, whole poems are allegorical, as Spenser's Fairy Queen; but, in these cases, the poet must take great care not to fain into trifling. Bunyan's Pilgrim'sf rogress is a tamous instance 01 a work wholly allegorical. There was a time when every poem was taken as an allegory ; even such works as those of Ariosto and Tasso were tortured from their true meaning, and made to pass for allegorical pictures. There exist many editions of these poets, in which, at the beginning of each canto, the allegory of it is given. With equally little reason, the Song of Solomon has long been considered an allegory of Christ's love to his church. The most productive period of allegory in painting and sculpture was that of Louis XV, which may be styled, in regard to the arts, the age of flattery. During this period, innumerable bad, and some good ones were produced. They are now much less in vogue. Rubens painted several fine allegorical pictures, in the Luxemburg gallery. Lessing, Herder and Winckelmann have investigated the subject of this article, perhaps, more thoroughly than any other modern writers. No poet, in our opinion, has made use of allegory in a more powerful and truly poetical manner than the great Dante; yet the opinion that the whole of his JDivina Commedia is allegorical, is quite erroneous. ALLEGRI, Gregorio; born at Rome, in L590, and died there in 1652; a singer in the papal chapel, and considered to this day, in Italy, one of the most excellent composers of that time. He was a scholar of Nanini. His Miserere, one of the most sublime and delightful works of human art, has particularly distinguished him. It is even now sung yearly, during passionweek, in the Sistine chapel at Rome. This composition was once esteemed so holy, that whoever ventured to transcribe it was liable to excommunication. Mozart disregarded this prohibition, and, after two hearings, made a correct copy of the originaL In 1771, it appeared at London, engraved, and in 1810 at Paris, in the Collection des Classiques. In 1773, the king of England obtained a copy, as a present from the pope himself. According to the opinion of Baini, at present the leader of the choir (maestro della cappella), in the pope's chapel, the Miserere of Allegri was not composed for all the voices, but only the bass of the 18 or 20 first parts; all the rest is the addition of successive singers. But in the beginning of the 18th century, the existing manner of singing it was established as a standard at Rome, by the orders of the pope. A full score of it has never existed.A. is also the name of an Italian satirical poet, a native of Florence, who flourished towards the end ot the loth century. His (Jhristian name was Alexander.