Monday, April 2, 2007

University of Virginia's Paul Barolsky Discusses Ovid and Art, April 12

Chestertown, MD, April 2, 2007 — Paul Barolsky, Commonwealth Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia, will discuss "Ovid's Metamorphoses and the History of Art" at Washington College's Casey Academic Center Forum on Thursday, April 12, at 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Barolsky's appearance is being sponsored by the Janson-La Palme Annual Distinguished Lecture in European Art History.

Dr. Barolsky has been teaching at the University of Virginia since 1969, mostly courses on various aspects of Italian Renaissance art and literature. A Harvard Ph.D., his books include Michelangelo's Nose, Why Mona Lisa Smiles and Infinite Jest. His most recent book is Michelangelo and the Finger of God. In 1988 he received the Phi Beta Kappa Book Prize for his book Walter Pater's Renaissance.

Dr. Barolsky was a 2005 Resident Scholar at the American Academy in Rome and a Getty Research Institute Visiting Scholar in 2000 and 2003. He was a 1994-1995 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990-1991. He was a Villa I Tatti Visiting Professor in 1987, 1991 and 1995, and garnered a Villa I Tatti Fellowship in 1981. While still at Harvard, he received a Fulbright Grant for study in Rome.

Regarding the topic of his April 12 lecture, "I know of no work of literature more wonderful than Metamorphoses," Dr. Barolsky wrote in Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics. "Even those who have never read Ovid or have read but fragments of his poem are familiar with many of his stories: Apollo and Daphne, Echo and Narcissus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Icarus and Daedalus, Orpheus and Eurydice, Venus and Adonis. Ovid's book may be popular but it is also radically searching: it is about the causes of things, about how birds, beasts, trees, flowers, and rocks came to be, a book about why things are the way they are....

"When we read Ovid, we become part of a wide community, a community that embraces artists of various types in the modern European tradition who have responded toMetamorphoses—from the authors who forged the Roman de la Rose to the poets of our own day inspired by the Augustan bard. If Ovid has been read by great artists, he is also read by those who like a good story, a story told well, a story that gives pleasure. In that respect, Ovid belongs to everybody."

The Janson-La Palme Annual Distinguished Lecture in European Art History is presented by the Washington College Department of Art. Admission is free and open to the public.

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