Changing Stories: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on canvas, 0 – index and introduction

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917), Echo and Narcissus (1903), oil on canvas, 109.2 x 189.2 cm, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England. Wikimedia Commons.

There are two major literary sources which have inspired more European and North American paintings than any others: the Bible, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Although most of us are at least fairly familiar with the major Biblical narratives, and they are freely available in many different translations into almost every language, hardly any of us have read more than a few lines of Ovid.

We are also generally familiar with the gist of the major books of the Bible, progressing from the creation, through Adam and Eve, the Fall, on into the early history of the Jewish people, the records of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and early church history in the New Testament. I suspect that hardly anyone reading this page has the remotest idea of the overall structure and sequence of the Metamorphoses.

Yet Ovid’s epic work inspired the writings of Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the paintings of Titian, Rubens, and innumerable artists since. Its fifteen books are generally considered to relate over 250 different myths, some of which still influence our languages, thought, and art.

In this series of articles, I am going to systematically look at each of the myths in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in turn, which contain narrative, a story. I will relate that story, based on Ovid’s account, and then show a few of the best examples of that story in paintings. Articles will generally be briefer than the in-depth examinations of individual myths which I have posted in the series The Story in Paintings, and I will try to show the best paintings rather than a historical series.

I hope that you find the series interesting and useful. I am looking forward to tackling myths which are less well-known, and those which have been popular in the past and may now have become overlooked. Most of all, I am looking forward to discovering plenty of wonderful paintings which tell interesting stories.

References

Wikipedia.
Perseus English translation.
AS Kline’s translations and more.
Downloadable PDFs of Loeb Classical Library – L042 and L043 cover the whole of Metamorphoses, in English and Latin.

Heroines: Ovid’s ‘Heroides’, fictional letters from great women – an index and more

Barolsky, Paul (2014) Ovid and the Metamorphoses of Modern Art from Botticelli to Picasso, Yale UP. ISBN 978 0 300 19669 6.
Boyd, Barbara W (ed) (2002) Brill’s Companion to Ovid, Brill. ISBN 978 90 04 22676 0.
Fantham, Elaine (2004) Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Oxford Approaches to Classical Literature, Oxford UP. ISBN 978 0 1951 5410 8.
Hardie, Philip (2002) The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, Cambridge UP. ISBN 978 0 521 77528 1.
Kilinski II, Karl (2013) Greek Myth and Western Art, The Presence of the Past, Cambridge UP. ISBN 978 1 1070 1332 2.
Knox, Peter E (ed) (2009, 2013) A Companion to Ovid, Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978 1 118 45134 2.
Lively, Genevieve (2011) Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, Reader’s Guides, Continuum. ISBN 978 1 4411 0084 9.
Melville, AD (trans) (1986) Ovid, Metamorphoses, Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford UP. ISBN 978 0 1995 3737 2.
Solodow, Joseph B (1988) The World of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978 0 8078 5434 1.
Syme, Sir Ronald (1978) History in Ovid, Oxford UP. ISBN 019 814825 9.
Tarrant, RJ (ed) (2004) P. Ovidi Nasonis, Metamorphoses, Oxford Classical Texts, Oxford UP. (Latin text only.) ISBN 978 0 1981 4666 7.
Woodford, Susan (2003) Images of Myths in Classical Antiquity, Cambridge UP. ISBN 978 0 5217 8809 0.

Anderson, William S (1997) Ovid’s Metamorphoses Books 1-5, Oklahoma UP. ISBN 978 0 8061 2894 8.
Hill, DE (1985) Ovid Metamorphoses Books I-IV, Aries & Phillips. ISBN 978 0 85668 257 5.
Hill, DE (1992) Ovid Metamorphoses Books V-VIII, Aries & Phillips. ISBN 978 0 85568 395 4.
Hill, DE (1999) Ovid Metamorphoses Books IX-XII, Aries & Phillips. ISBN 978 0 85668 646 7.
Hill, DE (2000) Ovid Metamorphoses Books XIII-XV, Aries & Phillips. ISBN 978 0 85668 733 4.

Beard, Mary, North, John, & Price, S (1998) Religions of Rome, vol 1, A History, Cambridge UP. ISBN 978 0 521 31682 8.
Gantz, Timothy (1993) Early Greek Myth, A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, vol 1, Johns Hopkins UP. ISBN 978 0 801 85360 9.
Gantz, Timothy (1993) Early Greek Myth, A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, vol 2, Johns Hopkins UP. ISBN 978 0 801 85362 3.
Morford, MPO, Lenardon, RJ, & Sham, M (2015) Classical Mythology, 10th ed., Oxford UP. ISBN 978 0 19 999739 8.

Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 1
Parallel hypertext: Storyspace metamorphosed 2, including a full Latin and English version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book 1 in Tinderbox/Storyspace format

Contents

Book 1
1 – Lycaon, cannibalism, and werewolves
2 – Deucalion, the flood, and Python
3 – Daphne, and how the laurel became the crown
4 – Jupiter & Io, Mercury & Argus, Pan & Syrinx. Rape, murder, cows, and peacocks
Book 2
5 – Phaëthon, the Heliades, Cycnus
6 – Jupiter and Callisto
7 – The Raven and Crow, and more
8 – Turned into stone, Mercury and Aglaurus
9 – The abduction of Europa
Book 3
10 – Cadmus and the Dragon’s Teeth
11 – Actaeon’s fatal mistake
12 – Semele and Jupiter’s Surrogate Pregnancy
13 – Tiresias, Echo and Narcissus
14 – Pentheus and Bacchus
Book 4
15 – Pyramus and Thisbe
16 – Venus and Mars, Leucothoe and Clytie
17 – Salmacis and Hermaphroditus
18 – Athamas and Ino
19 – Cadmus and Harmonia
20 – Perseus and Andromeda
21 – Perseus and Medusa
Book 5
22 – Perseus’ Wedding Feast
23 – Minerva and the Muses
24 – The rape of Proserpine
25 – Arethusa
26 – Triptolemus and Lyncus
Book 6
27 – Arachne and Minerva
28 – Niobe and the slaughter of her children
29 – Lycians turned into frogs

Index

Achelous, daughters of, Article 24
Achelous, River, Article 28
Acoetes, Article 14
Actaeon, Article 11
Aegis (Minerva’s breastplate), Article 21
Aesculapius, Article 7
Aglauros, Article 7 Article 8
Alpheus, Article 25
Amphion, Article 28
Andromeda, Article 20 Article 21 Article 22
Apollo, Article 2 Article 3 Article 5 Article 7 Article 8 Article 16 Article 28 Article 29
Arachne, Article 27
Arcas, Article 6
Arethusa, Article 24 Article 25
Argus, Article 4
Ascalaphus, Article 24
Athamas, Article 18
Atlas, Article 20
Bacchus, Article 12 Article 13 Article 14 Article 17
Battus, Article 8
Beroe, Article 12
Cadmus, Article 10 Article 11 Article 19
Calliope, Article 24 Article 25 Article 26
Callisto, Article 6
catasterisation, Article 6
Cecrops, daughters of, Article 7
Celmis, Article 17
Cepheus, Article 20 Article 21 Article 22
Ceres, Article 24 Article 25 Article 26
Cetus (sea-monster), Article 20
Chiron (Centaur), Article 7
Chrysaor, Article 21
Clymene, Article 5
Clytie, Article 16
Coroneus, Article 7
Coronis, Article 7
Crocus, Article 17
crow, Article 7
Cupid, Article 3 Article 24
Curetes, the, Article 17
Cyane, Article 24
Cycnus, Article 5
Danae, Article 20
Daphne, Article 3
Daphnis, Article 17
Dercetis, Article 15
Deucalion, Article 2
Diana, Article 6 Article 7 Article 11 Article 25 Article 28 Article 29
dragon’s teeth, Article 10
Echo, Article 13
Epaphus, Article 5
Ericthonius, Article 7
Europa, Article 9 Article 10
Fates, Article 7 Article 11 Article 24
Furies, Article 4 Article 18
Gorgons, Article 21
Graiae, Article 21
Hades, Article 24
Harmonia, Article 19
Helicon, Article 23
Hermaphroditus, Article 17
Hermione (for Harmonia), Article 19
Herse, Article 7 Article 8
Ino, Article 18
Io, Article 4
Juno, Article 4 Article 6 Article 12 Article 13 Article 18
Jupiter, Article 1 Article 2 Article 4 Article 5 Article 6 Article 9 Article 12 Article 13 Article 20 Article 24
Latona (Leto), Article 28 Article 29
Liriope, Article 13
Learchus, Article 18
Leuconoë (daughter of Minyas), Article 16
Leucothoë (turned into frankincense tree), Article 16
Leucothoë (also Leucothea, goddess, formerly Ino), Article 18
Lycaon, Article 1 Article 6
Lycians, Article 29
Lyncus, Article 26
Mars, Article 16
Medusa, Article 20 Article 21 Article 22
Melicerta, Article 18
Mercury, Article 4 Article 8
Minerva, Article 7 Article 8 Article 10 Article 21 Article 22 Article 23 Article 24 Article 27
Minyas, daughters of, Article 15 Article 16 Article 17
Muses, Article 23
Narcissus, Article 13
Naxos, Article 14
Neptune, Article 21
Nictimene, Article 7
Niobe (and Niobids), Article 28
Ocyroe, Article 7
Odysseus, Article 16 Article 18
Orpheus, Article 14
Ortygia, Article 25
Osiris, Article 4 Article 5
Palaemon, Article 18
Pan, Article 4
Pandrosos, Article 7 Article 8
peacock, Article 4
Pegasus, Article 21 Article 23
Pentheus, Article 14
Perseus, Article 20 Article 21 Article 22
Phaëthon, Article 5
Phineus, Article 22
Phoebus, Article 5
Pierides, Article 23 Article 26
Pierus, daughters of, Article 23 Article 26
Pluto, Article 24
Polydectes, Article 22
Proetus, Article 22
Prometheus, Article 2
Proserpine, Article 24
Pyramus, Article 15
Pyrrha, Article 2
Python, Article 2
raven, Article 7
Salmacis, Article 17
Semele, Article 12
Sicily, Article 24
Sirens, Article 24
Sithon, Article 17
Smilax, Article 17
sun (Sol, Helios), Article 5 Article 16
Syrinx, Article 4
Thebes (city), Article 10 Article 14
Thisbe, Article 15
Tiresias, Article 13 Article 14
Tisiphone, Article 18
Triptolemus, Article 26
Urania, Article 23
Venus, Article 16 Article 24
Vulcan, Article 16
werewolf, Article 1