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The Greek anthology and Renaissance ideas of art.

Tuesday 14 July 2009, by Guillaume Berthon

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Metochi Study Centre, Limonos Monastery, Kalloni, Lesbos

University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway

16-19 May 2010

The collections of epigrams known as the Greek anthology (the Planudean and later Palatine anthologies) were diffused in Italy by the late Quattrocento, although knowledge of the epigrams can be traced to the previous century. From the 1494 edition of Janus Lascaris the epigrams had a European-wide success, constituting a major object of imitatio, with numerous renderings in Latin and vernacular tongues. The epigrams present a considerable body of poems about artworks – whether conceived as artworks or describing them – which have been studied chiefly as a source for iconography and emblems. The aim of this conference is to widen discussion of the impact or relevance of the epigrams upon the visual arts from source study: to look at the impact they made on conceptions of artistic inspiration or invention, on conventions of description of artworks and on the formation of poetic topoi.

Traditionally viewed as brought to Italy principally by Byzantine scholars and émigrés, the anthology offers an object for study of the influence of Byzantine conceptions of art on Western Europe. Questions of Byzantine transmission may be checked against the influence of late antique-early medieval Latin sources to see the kind of historical narrative created around the anthology. The anthology also presents an exemplary case of the relation of visual to verbal artifice in the period.
Papers are sought on such topics as ekphrasis, Renaissance antiquarianism and collezionismo, Renaissance art criticism and art theory, Hellenistic, Neolatin and Byzantine poetics and rhetoric, epigraphy and emblematics.

The conference is planned to take place in Metochi Study Centre, an annex of the monastic complex of Limonos, Kalloni, Lesbos. Founded in 1523, the monastery is the largest on Lesbos and formed an intellectual centre during Turkish rule. Limonos contains a valuable library and museum of religious artefacts. The Metochi cloister was founded in the 16th century, and since 1993 has been a study centre for the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. The location on Lesbos, birthplace of Alcaeus and Sappho, and thus intimately linked to the origins of lyric poetry provides a fitting and evocative setting for the conference.
Please send enquiries, titles and 250 word abstracts with brief curriculum for 35 minute papers by 15 September to Dr Clare L. Guest, Department of English, University of Agder, Kristiansand,

Dr Clare L. Guest
Department of English
University of Agder
Serviceboks 422
4604 Kristiansand

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