By analyzing elusive knowledge in Early Modern aesthetics, this project focuses on an epistemic mode, which is – within the framework of normative regulations – marked by its discursive elusiveness and uncertainty. It is an epistemic mode which is intrinsically linked to the mediality and structure of the texts and artworks elaborating and reflecting on it. The research team pursues the assumption that the claim to validity as well as the dissemination, argumentative relevance, and institutional anchorage of this epistemic mode mark a predetermined breaking point and/or productive blank space within the system of rules and standards of Early Modern aesthetics. The focus is therefore on poetics and texts on art theory of the 16th and 17th century in Italy and France. On the one hand, aesthetic categories are analyzed to detect these systemic blank spaces and on the other, literary and rhetorical strategies are investigated which deal with the conceptually elusive knowledge of the beautiful. From this perspective, the project accounts for various processes of transfer as well as for the status of elusive knowledge in the respective institutional contexts, such as academies and salons, but also from within institutionalized genres such as poetics.