This research aims to investigate the popularity of Ovid's Metamorphoses in Genoa between the sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries. The research begin with a survey of the palaces and villas in which, according to the sources and the bibliography, there were frescoes depicting episodes of the myth and specifically of the Metamorphoses. The choice to focus attention on fresco painting was made due to the fact that the themes selected by the clients to decorate their homes were not random, but the result of a specific strategy for images through which they intended to convey a precise message. Therefore the diffusion of mythological subjects in these contexts allows us to understand the reasons of this popularity. Specifically in the Genoese context, it was therefore possible to demonstrate the role assumed by the Metamorphoses and the vernacular translations that mediated their contents (for the first time used as a systematic key to reading) in numerous iconographic systems. The case studies investigated in this research were therefore chosen because of the relationship they present with these texts, also with the aim of demonstrating the central role they had for artists and clients. The stories of Perseus, Apollo and the loves of the gods which, as shown in the thesis, are the most appreciated by the Genoese client, are transformed within the vaults of the palaces and villas of the Superba, celebrating lifes and goals of the men and women who lived in those houses. The clients use the images of the myth to give voice to their moral convictions, to demonstrate success in business and public life, but also for more personal purposes. For this purpose, the vernacular translations prove to be a fundamental tool for understanding the linguistic code of the aristocracy, as the reading of these translations allows not only to identify the source of the artist or the client (or any iconographic adviser) but they also provide a key to reading the images. From this examination arises not only a massive use of the vernacular translations, but also of the so-called Ovidi figurati, repertoires of images taken from the Metamorphoses in which to the written word was reserved a marginal role compared to illustration: in fact, every Ovid myth corresponds to a engraving accompanied by an epigram of just a handful of lines. The relationship of the painters with the images present in these editions is variable and ambivalent. What is evident is the choice to rely on them in cases where the artists are faced with the challenge of representing unusual episodes, with little or no iconographic success: having no models to follow, the painters look to these illustrations, taking inspiration from them freely or copying them slavishly. The recognition of the role played by these sources - both the vernacular texts and the figurative Ovids - in the elaboration of the iconographic programs, in addition to allowing a correct and precise decoding of the images, allows us to understand how the myths were read and understood in the modern age, providing therefore a key to understanding the intention of the client. The mediating texts therefore prove to be an essential tool in the study of frescoes of a mythological nature and specifically linked to Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Abitare con gli dèi. Le Metamorfosi di Ovidio negli affreschi del ‘lungo Cinquecento’ genovese e il loro rapporto con i testi mediatori.

CASAMASSIMA, FRANCESCA
2022-07-27

Abstract

This research aims to investigate the popularity of Ovid's Metamorphoses in Genoa between the sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries. The research begin with a survey of the palaces and villas in which, according to the sources and the bibliography, there were frescoes depicting episodes of the myth and specifically of the Metamorphoses. The choice to focus attention on fresco painting was made due to the fact that the themes selected by the clients to decorate their homes were not random, but the result of a specific strategy for images through which they intended to convey a precise message. Therefore the diffusion of mythological subjects in these contexts allows us to understand the reasons of this popularity. Specifically in the Genoese context, it was therefore possible to demonstrate the role assumed by the Metamorphoses and the vernacular translations that mediated their contents (for the first time used as a systematic key to reading) in numerous iconographic systems. The case studies investigated in this research were therefore chosen because of the relationship they present with these texts, also with the aim of demonstrating the central role they had for artists and clients. The stories of Perseus, Apollo and the loves of the gods which, as shown in the thesis, are the most appreciated by the Genoese client, are transformed within the vaults of the palaces and villas of the Superba, celebrating lifes and goals of the men and women who lived in those houses. The clients use the images of the myth to give voice to their moral convictions, to demonstrate success in business and public life, but also for more personal purposes. For this purpose, the vernacular translations prove to be a fundamental tool for understanding the linguistic code of the aristocracy, as the reading of these translations allows not only to identify the source of the artist or the client (or any iconographic adviser) but they also provide a key to reading the images. From this examination arises not only a massive use of the vernacular translations, but also of the so-called Ovidi figurati, repertoires of images taken from the Metamorphoses in which to the written word was reserved a marginal role compared to illustration: in fact, every Ovid myth corresponds to a engraving accompanied by an epigram of just a handful of lines. The relationship of the painters with the images present in these editions is variable and ambivalent. What is evident is the choice to rely on them in cases where the artists are faced with the challenge of representing unusual episodes, with little or no iconographic success: having no models to follow, the painters look to these illustrations, taking inspiration from them freely or copying them slavishly. The recognition of the role played by these sources - both the vernacular texts and the figurative Ovids - in the elaboration of the iconographic programs, in addition to allowing a correct and precise decoding of the images, allows us to understand how the myths were read and understood in the modern age, providing therefore a key to understanding the intention of the client. The mediating texts therefore prove to be an essential tool in the study of frescoes of a mythological nature and specifically linked to Ovid's Metamorphoses.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1092038
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