Aeneas se onderwêreldse reis in illustrasie : ’n resepsie-historiese studie van tonele in Aeneïs VI

Swanepoel, Liani Colette (2006-03)

Thesis (MA (Dept. of Ancient Studies) -- University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


Throughout the centuries artists have visualised the imaginative works of Publius Vergilius Maro in a variety of art forms. Paintings, frescoes, sculptures and even tapestries have made the wordscenes of his great epic, the Aeneid, concrete. The thesis investigates only the illustration of the epic in manuscripts and printed texts or translations. The illustrations of scenes in Book VI – the journey of Aeneas in the underworld – are studied using the reception-historical approach. This is to determine whether the illustrations of the Trojan hero’s journey in the underworld reflect the reception of the Aeneid in the different eras or periods. The illustrator is a “reader” of the Aeneid text or translation and consequently his/her illustration of a particular scene reflects his/her own visual interpretation thereof. Illustrations of Book VI in manuscripts like the Vergilius Vaticanus of late Antiquity and the mid- 15th century Riccardiana Vergilius of Apollonio di Giovanni are examined. A study of illustrations in printed texts or translations range from the 1502 Grüninger edition of Vergil edited by Sebastian Brant to the Book VI illustration of Thom Kapheim in a textbook published in 2001. The aim is to establish how illustrators associated with Book VI, interpreted it, how their environment and the spirit of the age influenced their visualisation and how their illustrations reflect the reception of the epic throughout the centuries. Such a study hopes to provide a contribution to Vergilian reception and Nachleben. In the process a better understanding can be obtained for the importance and changing role of Aeneid VI and the whole epic in different eras. It is found that the illustrators of the Aeneid – influenced by the different spirit of their times and environments – brought forth unique visual interpretations of scenes in Book VI that suggest a particular reception of the epic at that specific point of time. The illustrative spectrum of Book VI throughout the centuries can be summarised as follows: revival, allegorisation, pedagogic, realistic decoration and eventually increasingly unrealistic decoration. From late Antiquity to the beginning of the 21st century, the illustrative visualisation of the journey of Aeneas in the underworld indicates that there has always been a definitive response to Vergil and his epic.

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