Myth into Art: Poet and Painter in Classical Greece

By H. A. Shapiro | Go to book overview

out of the thousands that survive. I see these thirty rather as a collection of “test cases” for the comparative study of poetic and pictorial narrative. The criteria for selection are simple: I have chosen only those myths for which we have (a) a relatively full retelling in an extant literary work from Homer to Euripides and (b) a group of at least three or four preserved representations from the seventh to the fourth century. Only a few myths that meet these criteria have had to be omitted. Wherever possible, all the painted surfaces of a vase are illustrated, and the discussion focuses on how the finest painters combined several scenes into a narrative program.

The decision to organize the book according to the three principal literary genres, rather than into mythological or artistic categories, was inspired by a model proposed by Karl Schefold (GHG 272-79). He suggested that the imagery of the Archaic period can be divided into three successive modes that he calls “epic,” “lyric,” and “dramatic.” Although not agreeing with Schefold’s argument in detail, I have tried to adapt the model as an organizing principle. This will again perhaps make the book more accessible to classicists, but I hope it will not deter art-historians and others.

Although this book is the product of many years of looking at Greek vases and thinking about how they tell a story, the writing itself took place over a relatively brief period of time in the summer of 1992. This concentrated period of writing would not have been possible without both the financial support of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the hospitality of three institutions with superb libraries: the American Academy in Rome; the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin; and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. I wish to thank all these institutions and especially Professor Helmut Kyrieleis, President of the DAI, for the invitation to Berlin and a generous stipend during my stay there.

Many friends and colleagues in museums throughout the world responded promptly and generously to my requests for photographs. Ingrid Rowland kindly checked my translations of Stesichoros. Finally, I wish to thank Richard Stoneman at Routledge, who suggested this project to me and was very supportive along the way.

-xx-

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Myth into Art: Poet and Painter in Classical Greece
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Epic 11
  • 3 - Lyric 71
  • 4 - Drama 124
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 192
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