Rileggere l'antico nel Novecento: sondaggi tra arte e letteratura

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Re-reading the ancient in the twentieth century: surveys between art and literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Analysis of two ways of approaching the classics, apparently different but with underlying aspects in common, respectively in the fields of literature and visual art. In his lyric O Reginella (Myricae2, 1892) Giovanni Pascoli uses the techniques of the Hellenistic and Roman poets, contaminating his literary sources and reusing epic models to describe the humble life of his rural characters: adopting the role of Odysseus in Od. VI, and combining fragments from three different passages (vv. 25-30, 62-65, 154-159), he addresses his makaismos to a girl (a new Nausicaa) who has stretched out her white laundry in the meadows. The theme of "Reginella", born from his readings of Homer, often returns in his poetic works (poems, letters, handwritten notes): he adapts it to different poetic characters, sometimes imaginary, sometimes inspired by the figures of his real life. If Pascoli highlights its literary sources with a purposed allusive technique, in his painting Der Kuss (1907-1908) Klimt at first sight seems to hide them: the canvas is, in my opinion, inspired by the hierogamy of Zeus and Hera in Iliad XIV 341-351, whose archetypal value also stems from the fact that this is the first erotic scene in Western literature. All the details described by Homer are present here: the gold cloud that surrounds the lovers, the golden dew falling from the sky, the flowery meadow below them. Even a detail often ignored or misunderstood - the edge of cliff on which the two lovers are almost hovering - can find a more convincing explanation: the Hieros Gamos of the divine couple takes place on the Gargaron, the highest peak of Mount Ida (Il. XIV 292 s. e 352). The Homeric scene, which inspired many ancient and modern artists, is here reinterpreted according to the personal style of the artist, who was attracted - at this stage of its production (the so called golden period) - by the myths of Zeus' loves: in the same years he painted Danae (1907-1908), impregnated by Zeus turned into a golden rain, and in 1917 Leda, who was loved by Zeus in the form of a swan.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Re-reading the ancient in the twentieth century: surveys between art and literature
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationVincenzo Di Benedetto: il filologo e la fatica della conoscenza
Pages211-260
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Giovanni Pascoli
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Homer
  • Odyssey

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