Greek mythology in western art and literature
With the rediscovery of classical antiquity in Renaissance, the poetry of Ovid became a major influence on the imagination of poets and artists and remained a fundamental influence on the diffusion and perception of Greek mythology through subsequent centuries. From the early years of Renaissance, artists portrayed subjects from Greek mythology alongside more conventional Christian themes. Among the best-known subjects of Italian artists are Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Pallas and the Centaur, the Ledas of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and Raphael's Galatea. Through the medium of Latin and the works of Ovid, Greek myth influenced medieval and Renaissance poets such as Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante in Italy. In northern Europe, Greek mythology never took the same hold of the visual arts, but its effect was very obvious on literature. Both Latin and Greek classical texts were translated, so that stories of mythology became available. In England, Chaucer, the Elizabethans and John Milton were among those influenced by Greek myths; nearly all the major English poets from Shakespeare to Robert Bridges turned for inspiration to Greek mythology. Jean Racine in France and Goethe in Germany revived Greek drama. Racine reworked the ancient myths — including those of Phaidra, Andromache, Oedipus and Iphigeneia — to new purpose. The 18th century saw the philosophical revolution of the Enlightenment spread throughout Europe and accompanied by a certain reaction against Greek myth; there was a tendency to insist on the scientific and philosophical achievements of Greece and Rome. The myths, however, continued to provide an important source of raw material for dramatists, including those who wrote the libretti for Handel's operas Admeto and Semele, Mozart's Idomeneo and Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide. By the end of the century, Romanticism initiated a surge of enthusiam for all things Greek, including Greek...
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