Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Primavera as Classical Narrative

C  -----------  B  ------------- A
In a Medici courtyard…
Sandro: The picture is classical and the plot is likewise classical.

Lorenzo: How say you?

Sandro: It is a right to left narration.

Lorenzo: We read from left to right.

Sandro: Direction does not matter. Harken to the story. At right, there is Zephyrus, the March wind. He captures Chloris and she becomes the goddess of spring, Flora. See, she scatters roses thus.

Lorenzo: And the woman at the center of the story?

Sandro: It is no earthly woman. That is Venus, attended by the Three Graces.

Lorenzo: They seem to spurn Chloris.

Sandro: Nay, they turn their backs on Zephyrus with his earthy love. Instead, they lean towards Mercury who loves knowledge.

The Primavera is a depiction of one part of Ovid’s Fasti, a poem explaining the earlier Roman (not Julian) calendar. It is linear, and thus classical, beginning in January and ending in June. But critics say in places it is so allegorical as to border on erroneous. As such, Ovid’s narrative is also said to be fragmentary and difficult. He left it unfinished. Post-classical narrative?

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