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The «Odyssey» Cassone panels from the Lanckoroński collection

on the origins of depicting Homer's epic in the art of the Italian Renaissance / Jerzy Miziołek


The «Odyssey» Cassone panels from the Lanckoroński collection


It is difficult to remember today that the Odyssey was translated into Latin and thus became an important element of Western civilisation as late as on the eve of the age of the Renaissance. In the middle of the 15th century in Florence, Apollonio di Giovanni produced the earliest narrative illustrations of Homer's epic in post-antique art. They adorn four long panels on wood which originally constituted the fronts of cassoni or marriage chests; two of them, once in the collection of Count Karol Lanckoroński in Vienna, have, since October 1994, belonged to the Royal Castle in Kraków. Despite their notable artistic qualities and the fact that they provide the most complete depiction of the adventures of Ulysses in early-Renaissance art, the Lanckoroński Odyssey panels have never been the subject of a separate study. The present paper seeks to fill this gap; it investigates Apollonio's literary sources, the models for the numerous scenes he depicted, and the context in which his Odyssey panels were produced. Furthermore it answers the question: What could have been the message being conveyed to the newly weds by the panels in question? Thus this paper is also a contribution to the research on Apollonio di Giovanni's connections with humanism and also 15th century archaeology.

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Artibus et Historiae. – 2006. – Vol. 27, № 53. – P. 57–88.

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