SiStan ChapLee

Monday, September 18, 2017


Again some materials on the Battle of Lepanto, 1571, that is much more interesting to "see" through the eyes of its contemporaries (e.g. here) than those of modern authors, who often are either Catholic or anti-Catholic fundamentalists. Renaissance poets and artists could make something epic, even witty, out of that event. For example, let's have a look at a painting by Paolo Veronese (above, left) nominally titled Perseus freeing Andromeda, of the years 1576-78. It strikes the eye that in the background a big city rises, which 'suspiciously' recalls Constantinople. In fact, the jaws of the "Orc" look the same as in the painting The Battle of Lepanto by El Greco (above, right).
Though, well, incidentally, the main reason why I love this work of Veronese so much is the monster's flipper, possibly one of the most impressive pieces of science fiction in art history.

The Battle of Lepanto is dealt with in one of the new sections added by Torquato Tasso to his Jerusalem-poem, i.e. shifting from Gerusalemme Liberata to the Conquistata. Giovan Battista Marino too provides a description of the sea war event in his Adone. Both passages belong to the later parts of the respective poems, so it will take a while for us to get there, "if God helps us, and the devil does not put his tail on it" (Emperor Charles V).

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