The Revival of the Olympian Gods in Renaissance Art

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In this study, Luba Freedman examines the revival of the twelve Olympian deities in the visual arts of sixteenth-century Italy. Renaissance representations of the Olympians as autonomous figures in paintings, sculpture and drawing were not easily integrated into a Christian society. While many patrons and artists venerated the ancient artworks for their artistic qualities, others, nourished by religious beliefs, felt compelled to adapt ancient representations to Christian subjects. These conflicting attitudes influenced the representation of deities intentionally made all'antica, often resulting in an interweaving of classical and non-classical elements that is alien to the original, ancient sources. This study, the first devoted to this problem, highlights how problematic it was during the Cinquecento to display and receive images of pagan gods, whether shaped by ancient or contemporary artists. It offers new insights into the uneven absorption of the classical heritage during the early modern era.

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Cambridge University Press
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