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CALL. 06.11.2017: Figuring Change: The early modern artistic reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Asso




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: King’s College London (London, England)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Lydia Hamlett (History of Art, University of Cambridge); Philip Hardie (Classics, University of Cambridge)

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This session – co-convened by a classicist and an art historian– explores the art- historical legacy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and its underlying myths of classical transformation. It seeks papers that extend the chronological and geographical remit of Ovid’s visual cultural reception, as well as those that relate shifts in art historical reception back to the Ovidian metapoetics of transformation. We seek to attract papers on a wide range of case studies – not just sculpture and painting, but also tapestries, murals, music, architecture and performance; we are likewise interested in papers that ‘look out’ to the intersection of art history with, for example, changes in social history, politics and the history of science. Individual papers might be diachronic and transhistorical in scope, or else home in on the visual culture of specific times and places. The visual reception of episodes from the Metamorphoses has long been studied by art historians; likewise, recent work on the text by classicists has focused on the aesthetics and politics of the gaze, the ecphrastic challenge to the artist and the transformative power of art. There are nonetheless some important lacunae where an interdisciplinary approach might prove instructive – for example, in the case of Britain during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries (a particularly rich lens for thinking about how early modern readers and viewers looked at, and thought with, the traditions of Greece and Rome). What should we look out for in terms of the visual treatments of Ovidian subjects? Are images of Ovidian tales of metamorphosis merely entertainment and titillation? Or do they point to important changing moral, cultural and political ideas? We are particularly interested in papers that focus on lesser known aspects of Ovidian reception, or which build new modes of interdisciplinary exchange. Topics might include differing receptions of the Metamorphoses in Britain and on the Continent; editions of Ovid in country house libraries and how and by whom they were read within the context of wider collections; traditions of illustrating Ovid; the appropriation of Ovid in public and private spheres, across court, country and city; the representation of material change, including alchemy and apotheosis; and ideas of intermedial translation between words and images. Please reply to Lydia Hamlett ( or Philip Hardie (

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