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Allegory of Poetry

Auger Lucas (French Rococo Era painter, 1685-1765) | An Allegory of Poetry

As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences.
Allegory (in the sense of the practice and use of allegorical devices and works) has occurred widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.
Writers or speakers typically use allegories as literary devices or as rhetorical devices that convey (semi-)hidden or complex meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey.
Many allegories use personifications of abstract concepts.

Giuseppe Sacconi (Italian architect, 1854-1905) | Allegory of poetry | National Museum in Warsaw, 1789

Poetry has a long history dating back to prehistoric times with hunting poetry in Africa, and to panegyric and elegiac court poetry of the empires of the Nile, Niger, and Volta River valleys.
Some of the earliest written poetry in Africa is found among the Pyramid Texts written during the 25th century BCE.
The earliest Western Asian epic poetry, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written in Sumerian.
Early poems in the Eurasian continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing; or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, the Zoroastrian Gathas, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song, and comedy. Later attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form, and rhyme, and emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively-informative prosaic writing.
Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects.

Raphael (Italian High Renaissance painter, 1483-1520) | The Stanza della Segnatura Ceiling: Poetry

The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations.
Similarly, figures of speech such as metaphor, simile, and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images - a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm.
Some poetry types are specific to particular cultures and genres and respond to characteristics of the language in which the poet writes.
Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe, Mickiewicz, or Rumi may think of it as written in lines based on rhyme and regular meter.
There are, however, traditions, such as Biblical poetry, that use other means to create rhythm and euphony.
Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, testing the principle of euphony itself or altogether forgoing rhyme or set rhythm.
In today's increasingly globalized world, poets often adapt forms, styles, and techniques from diverse cultures and languages.

Woman with wax tablets and stylus, so called Sappho | Fresco | Pompeii, Naples | National Archaeological Museum
Eustache Le Sueur (French Baroque Era painter, 1616-1655) | An Allegory of Poetry
Louis Jean Francois Lagrenee (French Neoclassical painter, 1725-1805) | Poetry
Raphael (Italian High Renaissance painter, 1483-1520) | An allegorical figure of Poetry, 1509-10 | The Royal Collection Trust
Jean-Baptiste Tuby (French Baroque Era Sculptor, 1635-1700) | | Le Poème Lyrique, 1675-1680
Jean-Baptiste Tuby (French Baroque Era Sculptor, 1635-1700) | Le Poème Lyrique, 1675-1680 (detail)
Lambert-Sigisbert Adam (French Baroque Era Sculptor, 1700-1759) | Poetry, 1752 | Louvre

La poesia (dal greco ποίησις, poiesis, con il significato di "creazione") è una forma d'arte che crea, con la scelta e l'accostamento di parole secondo particolari leggi metriche (che non possono essere ignorate dall'autore), un componimento fatto di frasi dette versi, in cui il significato semantico si lega al suono musicale dei fonemi.
La poesia ha quindi in sé alcune qualità della musica e riesce a trasmettere concetti e stati d'animo in maniera più evocativa e potente di quanto faccia la prosa, in cui le parole non sottostanno alla metrica.
La lingua nella poesia ha una doppia funzione:
- Vettore di significati - con contenuti sia informativi sia emotivi;
- Vettore di suoni.
Per svolgere efficacemente questa duplice funzione, la sintassi e l'ortografia possono subire variazioni rispetto alle norme dell'Italiano neostandard (le cosiddette licenze poetiche) se ciò è funzionale (non solo estetico) ai fini della comunicazione del messaggio.

Raphael (Italian High Renaissance painter, 1483-1520) | Poetry ceiling tondo, 1509-11

A questi due aspetti della poesia se ne aggiunge un terzo quando una poesia, anziché essere letta direttamente, è ascoltata: con il proprio linguaggio del corpo e il modo di leggere, il lettore interpreta il testo, aggiungendo la dimensione teatrale della dizione e della recitazione.
Nel mondo antico - ed anche in molte culture odierne - poesia e musica sono spesso unite, come accade anche nei Kunstlieder tedeschi, poesie d'autore sotto forma di canzoni accompagnate da musiche appositamente composte.
Queste strette commistioni fra significato e suono rendono estremamente difficile tradurre una poesia in lingue diverse dall'originale, perché il suono ed il ritmo originali vanno irrimediabilmente persi e devono essere sostituiti da un adattamento nella nuova lingua, che in genere è solo un'approssimazione dell'originale.

Philippe Laurent Roland (French Sculptor, 1746-1816) | Homer, 1812 | Louvre
Salvator Rosa (Italian Baroque Era painter, 1615-1673) | Lucrezia as Poetry

Florentine, 16th Century| Allegorical portrait of Dante | Washington National Gallery of Art