Fine Arts | Topics in Ancient Art
A410 | 2220 | Leach

Ovidian Mythology and Its Tradition

This course will focus on Ovid's poetry and its importance for the
transmission of classical mythology within the literary and artistic
traditions of western Europe. Beginning with Ovid's own appropriation and
reconfiguration of myths as examples or narrative vehicles, particular
emphasis will be given to cultural context and to its influence in the
transformations of myth. Reading for the first few weeks will comprise
portions of Ovid's erotic poems (Amores and Art of Love) and epic
Metamorphoses in translation with particular attention to myths that
figure repeatedly in later art such as Pyramus and Thisbe, Narcissus,
Pygmalion, Venus and Adonis, Apollo and Daphne, Polyphemus and Galatea,
the "Loves of Jove". Subsequent readings will include selections from
Apuleius' Metamorphoses, medieval romance, the Romance of the Rose,
Petrarch's Rime Sparse, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare and
Milton. Paintings discussed will include Roman wall paintings and works by
Botticelli, Correggio, Titian, Giulio Romano, Carracci, Velasquez and
The course format will be lecture/discussion. Written work will
comprise 2 short interpretive papers and a longer research paper studying
the literary and artistic development of a single myth. Material not
covered in the class program, such as American mythological painting, may
be included in these papers. Depending on class enrollment, these might be
presented as reports. N.B. The course can also carry Intensive Writing
Credit for those who wish it; these students will fulfill a series of
short paper assignments.

There will also be a final examination consisting of one hour of slide
questions and one hour's interpretive essay.