(15th century- )
A Latin phrase meaning 'explaining painting and poetry', this argument's origins lie in the comparisons made between the two disciplines in Aristotle's Poetics and Horace's Ars Poetica. These formed the bases during the Renaissance and Baroque periods for several treatises on similar theories.
The fundamental assumption is that painting, like poetry, is the ideal imitation of human action. The principal aims of the artist were imitation, invention, expression, instruction and decorum. Through the comparison with poetry, painting was elevated to the status of a liberal art.
R E Lee, Ut Pictura Poesis - The Humanistic Theory of Painting (New York, 1967)