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Disegno, from the Italian word for drawing or design, carries a more complex meaning in art, involving both the ability to make the drawing and the intellectual capacity to invent the design.

From the Renaissance this ability to invent, or create, put the artist on a footing with God, the ultimate Creator, and was a means of raising the status of painting from craft to art.

In Renaissance Italy a dispute arose between the partisans of Michelangelo and those of Titian as to whether disegno (Michelangelo) or colorito (Titian) was superior (see the entry for Colorito).