From Cythera series A (2018)

            Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, first translated in English under the title Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream, is an extremely learned and obscure compendium of the Renaissance view of antiquity. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the work was rather influential, among poets, painters, architects and garden designers.

            Presumably completed in 1467 and published in Venice in December 1499 by the great printer Aldo Manuzio, it was written in an inventive language, consisting of spoken Italian mixed with Latin and Greek with Arabic and Hebrew inclusions. It is very likely that the Italian humanist Leon Battista Alberti assisted in its conception. Its complete title in English would read: The Sleep-Love-Fight of Polifilo, in Which it is Shown that all Human Things are but a Dream, and Many Other Things Worthy of Knowledge and Memory.

            Much of the action described in the book takes place on the island of Cythera. It is there that the two protagonists celebrate their wedding, and Aphrodite appears to them. It is also on Cythera that magnificent and intricate gardens are described, along with ancient ruins and monuments and ceremonials.

            I have never been to the island of Cythera. If I were to create works devoted this theme, I would  superimpose prints from The Strife of Love in a Dream on satellite images of this real island or, rather, to images of any archaeological site close to my house.

            But why am I eventually interested in Cythera? Because it is a sort of paradigm of the gap between a real place and the images of it created and transmitted by past cultures. And this is a fertile gap.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 01
From Cythera 01. The ruins of Polyandrion.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 02
From Cythera 02. The triumph of Semele.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 03
From Cythera 03. The bath of Venus.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 04
From Cythera 04. The gardens.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 05
From Cythera 05. The encounter with the wolf.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 06
From Cythera 06. The three doors of queen Telosia.

.

Spuglia From Cythera A 07From Cythera 07. Poliphilo and Polia.

.

A text which accompanies this work in progress: see chapter five of Ruins in the island.

.

This entry was posted in ENGLISH TEXTS, TEXTS WITH IMAGES and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.