Monday, May 30, 2011

Titian Translating Ovid

Professor Meineck ends his lectures on Roman Mythology with a long look down the ages, with special mention of Ovid as the carrier of tales to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He tells an amusing story of how in the Ovide moralisé, a French interpretive guide to Ovid's Metamorphoses, the story of Apollo and Daphne is converted, literally, into an allegory of the Christian God and the Virgin Mary.

Another great translator of Ovid is, of course, Titian. Lucien Freud has called Titian's images inspired by scenes from Metamorphoses "simply the most beautiful pictures in the world."

Titian called his images from the Metamorphoses the Poesie. I came across a scholarly study of the Poesie that suggests Titian transformed Ovid's images in ways that emphasis male dominance, even in his treatment of the story of Actaeon:

Actaeon surprising Diana


The Rape of Europa

(Thanks to Arline for the images of Actaeon.)

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