Palazzo Te, an international study conference on the myth of Venus

On Friday, April 16, 2021, the international study conference dedicated to the Venus myth organized by Fondazione Palazzo Te will be held online.

As part of Venus Divina. Harmony on Earth, the program of exhibitions and events that Fondazione Palazzo Te is dedicating this year to the myth of Venus, an international study conference, curated by Claudia Cieri Via, will be held on Friday, April 16, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., which aims to highlight different aspects of this deity.

The free streaming webinar conference will discuss the Venus myth from its classical origins to its legacies in the culture of the modern era such as in European painting between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries or in coeval mythographic and poetic literature.

Introduced by Stefano Baia Curioni, director of the Fondazione Palazzo Te, and Claudia Cieri Via, curator of the conference and exhibition program at Palazzo Te, scholars from universities across Europe, such as La Sapienza Università di Roma, University of Macerata, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, together with Francesca Cappelletti, director of the Galleria Borghese in Rome, and Stefano L’Occaso, director of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, will tell the story of Venus Pandemos, a deity linked to natural fecundity and the generator of all things, Venus Urania daughter of Ouranos the expression of divine love, and Praxiteles’ Venus Cnidia, an absolute masterpiece of the imagery of female beauty.

The goddess is also the protagonist of fables that animate Renaissance and Baroque literature and art. Venus, the mother of Cupid in ancient mythology, is also subject to the variability of occasions by declining her power in naturalistic and erotic terms: this is the case with the tapestry woven in Mantua to a design by Giulio Romano, but she is also linked to other aspects such as deception, magic and witchcraft. Above all, Venus is an ideal model of female beauty, as evidenced by the rooms of the famous Veneri, where portraits of the most beautiful women of Italian and European courts were collected: an example is the “dressing room of the beautiful” in the Ducal Palace in Mantua.

Participants in the conference Stefano Baia Curioni, director Fondazione Palazzo Te; Francesca Cappelletti, director Galleria Borghese Rome; Giuseppe Capriotti, University of Macerata; Claudia Cieri Via, Sapienza University of Rome; Stefano L’Occaso, director Palazzo Ducale Mantova; Philippe Morel, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne; Roberto Nicolai, Sapienza University of Rome; Emilio Russo, Sapienza University of Rome; Massimiliano Simone, EPHE - Université Paris 8; Christina Strunck, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg; Andrea Torre, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

The international conference entitled Venus. Nature, Shadow and Beauty is organized by Fondazione Palazzo Te and Museo Civico di Palazzo Te, sponsored by the Municipality of Mantua under the patronage of MiC, with the contribution of Fondazione Banca Agricola Mantovana and with the support of Friends of Palazzo Te and the Mantuan Museums and iGuzzini.

To attend the conference, it is necessary to register at this link.

Below is the program

9:30 a.m. Introduction.

Stefano Baia Curioni - Director, Fondazione Palazzo Te
Claudia Cieri Via - Sapienza University of Rome

Chair: Andrea Torre

10.00 Roberto Nicolai - Sapienza University of Rome
Homeric archetypes of the image of Aphrodite/Venus

10.30 Claudia Cieri Via - Sapienza University of Rome
“Una donzella non con uman volto/ Da’ zefiri lascivi spinta a proda”. Venus and the survival of the ancient in the modern age

11:00 a.m. Giuseppe Capriotti - University of Macerata
“Di Venere la face è tanto ardente”. Images of the goddess of love in the illustrated vulgarizations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

11.30-12.00 Pause

Chair: Francesca Cappelletti

12.00 Philippe Morel - Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Venus and Bacchus as exaltation of voluptas in European painting between the 16th and 17th centuries

12.30 Massimiliano Simone
The chameleon-like Venus “taken laced”. Sinful vs worldly; metamorphic vs allegorical.

Break 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Chair: Christina Strunck

2:30 p.m. Emilio Russo - Sapienza University of Rome
Venus in the literature of the seventeenth century

15.00 Francesca Cappelletti - Director Galleria Borghese Rome
The Camerini of the Belles

15.30 Stefano L’Occaso - Director Palazzo Ducale Mantova
Giulio Romano’s tapestry with ’Venus and cherubs’ from the Gonzaga collections

16.00- 17.00 Debate coordinated by Stefano Baia Curioni, Francesca Cappelletti, Claudia Cieri Via, Christina Strunck, Andrea Torre

Image: Giulio Romano and pupils, Venus driving a chariot points Psyche to Cupid (1527; oil on plaster on wooden support; Mantua, Palazzo Te, Camera di Amore e Psiche) © Fondazione Palazzo Te Ph.Credit Gian Maria Pontiroli

Palazzo Te, an international study conference on the myth of Venus
Palazzo Te, an international study conference on the myth of Venus

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