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Vico's "New Science"A Philosophical Commentary$
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Donald Phillip Verene

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700163

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700163.001.0001

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Structure of the Frontispiece

Structure of the Frontispiece

(p.40) Chapter 5 Structure of the Frontispiece
Vico's "New Science"

Donald Phillip Verene

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the frontispiece or dipintura provides the reader with a conception of the New Science before reading it and an aid to recalling it after it is read. The first two-thirds of Giambattista Vico’s Idea of the Work is an inventory. The last third, beginning with his declaration that “this New Science” and “metaphysic” are synonymous, is a description of the central concepts of the science and their interconnections. The central figure of the dipintura is metaphysic, standing atop the globe. According to Paolo Rossi, the source of this image is a composite of the figures of metaphysic and mathematic in Cesare Ripa’s Iconology (1593). This chapter considers Vico’s conception of the donna Metafisica as well as the substantive source of the figure, its idea. In particular, it discusses the female figure of philosophy, or Lady Philosophy, that appears to Boethius in prison in his Consolation of Philosophy. It also explores Vico’s inventory of the objects in the dipintura as well as his explanation of its contents.

Keywords:   frontispiece, dipintura, Giambattista Vico, New Science, metaphysic, Cesare Ripa, donna Metafisica, philosophy, Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

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