Dosso Dossi

Paintings of Myth, Magic, and the Antique

By Giancarlo Fiorenza
(Penn State University Press, Hardcover, 9780271032047, 238pp.)

Publication Date: October 2008

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In Dosso Dossi: Paintings of Myth, Magic, and the Antique, Giancarlo Fiorenza draws on a wealth of rarely studied primary source material to present the work of the Ferrarese court artist Dosso Dossi in a new light. The artist, who worked mainly for Duke Alfonso I d'Este of Ferrara, is celebrated for his mythological paintings that spoke to the courtly imagination. Fiorenza focuses on Dosso's highly allusive and eloquent portrayal of ancient and vernacular subjects found in such well-known works as Jupiter Painting Butterflies, Myth of Pan, Enchantress, and his frescoes of Aesop's fables.

Dosso's art challenges conventional iconographic analysis, and Fiorenza considers how the poetics governing his imagery recasts literary sources, including Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, by magnifying their most pictorial components. Perhaps more compellingly than any of his contemporaries, Dosso's paintings transformed courtly ideals and princely identity into a new sensual spirit.

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