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Title: Prometheus, artist of the ages : Prometheus' function in ekphrastic contexts in Latin literature and North Italian Renaissance stanzini
Author: Dunn, D. F.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is concerned with how the myths of Prometheus came to function within ekphrastic contexts from Latin literature to Renaissance Italian art. Prometheus had many guises: the trickster that stole fire and triggered the end of the Golden Age, the keeper of a secret, the sculptor of man. Previous scholarship has tended to ignore, in particular, Prometheus’ connection to the Golden Age. After drawing fresh attention to the earliest sources in which this connection was explored, I illustrate how a development in writers’ characterisation of the god helped give rise to the idea of Prometheus as a creator capable of inspiring a new age. Ekphrasis functions as a thematic focus of the thesis. This is because Prometheus and Golden Age motifs frequently appear within or just outside of ekphrases, and because it is my contention that Prometheus, in particular, has an important metapoetic function. I argue that the ekphrastic characteristics of North Italian Renaissance Dukes’ stanzini (study/art galleries) in which Prometheus and Golden Age motifs were often employed may help redefine and clarify ancient literature about Prometheus, most particularly his metapoetic function. That relationship is explored through three diptychs, in each of which a classical text containing an ekphrasis is paired with an Italian stanzino containing an artwork inspired by that text. The diptychs are: Catullus 64 with the cam erini d’alabastro of Alfonso I d’Este in Ferrara, Vergil Eclogue VI and Ovid Metamorphoses I with Francesco I de’Medici’s Studiolo in Florence, and, as an extension of my study, Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon with the Italian Hall of Mary of Hungary in Flanders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available