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Look Inside The Revival of the Olympian Gods in Renaissance Art

The Revival of the Olympian Gods in Renaissance Art


  • Date Published: January 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521181037

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About the Authors
  • In this study, Luba Freedman examines the revival of the twelve Olympian deities in the visual arts of sixteenth-century Italy. Renaissance representations of the Olympians as autonomous figures in paintings, sculpture and drawing were not easily integrated into a Christian society. While many patrons and artists venerated the ancient artworks for their artistic qualities, others, nourished by religious beliefs, felt compelled to adapt ancient representations to Christian subjects. These conflicting attitudes influenced the representation of deities intentionally made all'antica, often resulting in an interweaving of classical and non-classical elements that is alien to the original, ancient sources. This study, the first devoted to this problem, highlights how problematic it was during the Cinquecento to display and receive images of pagan gods, whether shaped by ancient or contemporary artists. It offers new insights into the uneven absorption of the classical heritage during the early modern era.

    • Discussion of central works of Renaissance art, individually representing the twelve supreme gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome
    • Analysis of learning in the Cinquecento about the representation of the Olympians in classical art
    • Study of conflicting attitudes towards the works of art representing non-religious subjects of autonomous figures
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'The text is densely argued and full of deep learning.' Journal of Classics Teaching

    'The book has the merit of highlighting the importance of the Italian Renaissance art laboratory in transmitting and reworking ancient heritage. The problems addressed are at the crossroads between art history, cultural and social anthropology, history of archaeology, and history of religion. The very useful index is evidence of the richness and diversity of the subjects covered in the book.' Anabases

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521181037
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 179 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 78 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Outlining a Cinquecento Phenomenon:
    1. Terms and concepts
    2. Components of the phenomenon
    Part II. Discoveries and Their Impact:
    3. Olympian deities in ancient sculpture
    4. Ancient testimonies
    5. Literary descriptions
    6. The question of revival
    Part III. Cinquecento Works of Art:
    7. 'Classical' elements
    8. Non-classical elements
    9. The conflict in Cinquecento schools of thought.

  • Author

    Luba Freedman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Luba Freedman is a scholar of Italian Renaissance art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has also been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome and at the Center of Renaissance and Reformation Studies at Victoria College, University of Toronto. She is the author of The Classical Pastoral in the Visual Arts, Titian's Independent Self-Portraits and Titian's Portraits through Arentino's Lens. Freeman co-edited with Gerlinde Huber-Rebenich a book of essays, Wege zum Mythos. She is also on the advisory board of Renaissance Studies and The Sixteenth-Century Journal.

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