The Visual Afterlife of Classical Mythology
Myths are a way of structuring and explaining the world. This course explores the 'after life' of ancient mythologies by focusing on the classical revival of the Renaissance, but we also study the intersection of these traditions with contemporary representations, including film. The course aims to familiarize students with a core set of myths, ones narrated in Ovid's Metamorphoses, and which provided a framework for picturing themes like transformation, desire and creativity. We will combine analysis of literary poetics with close attention to visual literacy. Through gender analysis, we focus on the construction of masculinity (eg Hercules) and femininity (eg Venus). The very fictionality of myth made it an apt vehicle for the figuring of creativity, here investigated through the stories of Narcissus, Prometheus and Pygmalion. Textbook: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Penguin. Images: Botticelli, Venus. Kapoor, Marsyas.
Estimated cost of materials: less than $50.
Category for Concentration Distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., 3. Early Modern