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As in Ovid, So in Renaissance Art

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Paul Barolsky*
University of Virginia


This essay is a prolegomenon to the general study of Ovid's relations to Renaissance art and art theory. As is well known, the Metamorphoses determined the subjects of numerous works of art during the Renaissance. What is not sufficiently appreciated, however, is the extent to which the ancient poet's sense of "metamorphosis" as a figure of poesis, making or "poetry," helped shape Renaissance notions of poetic transformation in the visual arts. The emergent taste for the non finito in the Renaissance, most notably in the work of Michelangelo, had important roots in Ovidean aesthetics.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 1998

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