Myth of Apollo and Marsyas in the Art of the Italian Renaissance: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Images

Overview

Titian's great late painting of Apollo and Marsyas has been included in several recent exhibitions of Venetian painting in Europe and the United States. In this study, art historian Edith Wyss sheds light on the perception of the theme in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Renaissance artists knew several outstanding antique sculptures representing the myth and drew often on these prestigious models for inspiration. Only from the third decade of the sixteenth century onward did autonomous artistic ...
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This large-format (12-3/16x8-7/8 inches) study focuses on the flaying of Marsyas in the Italian Renaissance and the way that the myth can be used by artists and writers. The book ... was actually written by Edith Wyss (according to the dust jacket and the title page). Many illustrations in black-and-white. An important study. Interior mint; dust jacket slightly shelf-worn. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Titian's great late painting of Apollo and Marsyas has been included in several recent exhibitions of Venetian painting in Europe and the United States. In this study, art historian Edith Wyss sheds light on the perception of the theme in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Renaissance artists knew several outstanding antique sculptures representing the myth and drew often on these prestigious models for inspiration. Only from the third decade of the sixteenth century onward did autonomous artistic interpretations of the myth assert themselves. Among the artists who devoted their skills to this myth are Perugino, Raphael, and several of his followers - Giulio Romano, Parmigianino, Bronzino, Salviati, Tintoretto, and Titian. Wyss demonstrates that some depictions encode messages that transcend the obvious exhortation against pride. Taking their cue from a popular edition of the Metamorphoses, some patrons and artists viewed the myth as an allegory of the revelation of truth. Others, following Pythagorean teachings, perceived the sun god's lyre music as the music of the spheres. In this perception, Apollo's victory assures the continued harmonious functioning of the universe, and Marsyas's defiance of the sun god's authority called for the severest retribution. In a few instances the author demonstrates that the Pythagorean allegorical reading of the myth was borrowed for political ends, with Apollo's victorious lyre standing as metaphor for the supposedly harmonious government of the ruling power. The discussion allows the Marsyas myth to unfold in a theme of extraordinary richness and depth and touches on issues that were at the core of the Renaissance culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874135404
  • Publisher: University of Delaware Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1996
  • Pages: 184

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Introduction 13
1 The Marsyas Myth and Its Representations in Antiquity 19
2 The Ancient Symbolism of the Myth 26
3 The Survival of the Myth and Its Meaning from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance 34
4 The Augustan Intaglio Gem: Copies, Variants, Inspirations 43
5 The Influence of Classical Marsyas Sculptures 61
6 Marsyas Scenes from a Roman Ceiling Borrowed for Renaissance Palace Decorations 72
7 The Woodcut Illustration of the Ovidio vulgare of 1497 and Its Influence 83
8 Iconographic Inventions of the Second Quarter of the Cinquecento 93
9 Venetian Depictions of the Myth from Mid Century 113
10 The Marsyas Myth in the Era of the Counter-Reformation 120
11 Titian's Flaying of Marsyas 133
Conclusions 142
Appendix: List of the Italian Representations of the Marsyas Myth c. 1460-1575 145
Notes 156
Bibliography 168
Index 179
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