The Legends of Troy in Art and Literature

By Margaret R. Scherer | Go to book overview
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THIS book grew out of an interest awakened by one person in one well- remembered place and time. Laura Hibbard Loomis, in a Wellesly class on Chaucer in 1916, showed her students illustrations from a manuscript of Christine de Pisan Epistle of Othéa, Goddess of Prudence, to Hector, Chief of the Trojans, in which Greek gods and heroes went garbed as knights and courtiers of the fifteenth century. Classical and modern illustrations of the tale of Troy were already familiar: now the medieval gap in time and interpretation was at once revealed and bridged. Thereafter any reference to the Trojan story caught my eye and was filed for remembrance.

For help in the long process of shaping this volume my deepest thanks are due to many among my colleagues in the Metropolitan Museum. I am indebted to Marjorie J. Milne and Dietrich von Bothmer for invaluable suggestions of classical works and references and for translations from the Latin Dictys; to William H. Forsyth, Margaret B. Freeman, and Carmen Gómez-Moreno for material on medieval tapestries; to Edith A. Standen for suggestions regarding structure and the Trojan story in tapestries and other textiles of later periods; and to Marshall B. Davidson, former Editor of Publications, and Lillian Green for advice and assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.

Outside the circle of my colleagues at the Metropolitan Museum I owe debts of gratitude to William T. Jackson of Columbia University for his careful scrutiny of the sections dealing with the legend in classical literature and for his suggestions concerning bibliographies; to Harry Bober of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and to Gertrud Bing, then Director of the Warburg Institute, London, for their kindness in reading the manuscript and making suggestions; to Erwin Panofsky of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, for help in an endless succession of problems; to the late Cornelia C. Coulter of Mount Holyoke College for translations from Boccaccio Genealogy of the Gods; to Mary M. Kenway of the Pierpont Morgan Library and to the staff of the Frick Art Reference Library for aid in tracing manuscript illustrations; to Hugo Buchthal of the Warburg Institute for assistance in locating elusive examples; to E. H. Gombrich, present Director of the Warburg Institute, and to his staff for enabling me to use that Institute's reference material; to John L. Caskey of the University of Cincinnati for advice regarding the note on excavations at Troy, Mycenae, and Phylos; to Duveen Brothers and French and Company for information concerning Trojan tapestries; and to colleagues in many museums in Europe and the United States for supplying information concerning works of art in their own collections and elsewhere dealing with legend of Troy.

I am especially grateful to The Metropolitan Museum of art for its encouragement and its generous support of this volume.


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