Exploring Expressions of Ovid

It’s true that great stories stay with you, but a great storyteller is one who has led you through a journey. They have the ability to transport you and strengthen you, making you question your beliefs with the tales they bring. There is no great storyteller, poet, or artist quite like the classical poet Ovid. Perhaps that is why for more than 2,000 years, his words are still with us all.

During my latest artist date, I decided to check out the Ovidio show at Scudiere del Quirinale. I was accompanied by my longtime friend, the artist Olya Dubatova. We both share a curiosity of mediums, expressions and a fascination with the art world itself. We have seen many shows together whenever we are in the same city at the same time.

This enchanting exhibit featured more than 200 works by various artists and in several mediums. From frescoes and ancient sculptures to manuscripts and modern paintings, the exhibit was curated to entice everyone into a journey through the influence of Ovid in art.

Ovid’s verse expressed the archetypal stories of the Greek myths. His distillation of these stories, which have been told and retold throughout the centuries, remains iconic. Every fragment and stroke in the show centered around three  themes in the poet’s work: love, seduction, and the power of myth.

The first room was aglow in neon signage of original Latin verse and English translation. Many familiar phrases and concepts were highlighted in this way to declare – see, Ovid has touched even you, though you might not have known it.

The exhibit flowed through select myths and characters, the ones whose imagery sparked artists’ imaginations. Here was Leda and the Swan, Europa, Narcissus, Venus and Adonis, the fall of Phaeton. Like a passage through time, from ancient frescos to gilded panels to rich oil painted realism, the words of the poet took form in front of your eyes.

As a former Latin scholar, a lover since childhood of the myths and their archetypal personalities, I am passionately inspired by Ovid since I can remember picking up a brush.

This wonderful and thoughtful show proved how powerful certain stories are – reaching through time through the distillation of a profound writer.