The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili : image and text in a Renaissance romance

Oettinger, April, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Summers, David, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Barolsky, Paul, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Meulen, David Vander, Department of English, University of Virginia

This dissertation explores the genesis of and relationship among the woodcut illustrations and the text ofthe Hvpnerotomachia Poliphili. "Poliphilo's struggle for love in a dream," written in a florid Latinate prose and illustrated by 172 woodcuts, tells the tale of the hero's dream-quest for his beloved Polia across a dreamscape of classicizing ruins, artificial gardens, and marvelous edifices. A major work of Renaissance art and literature whose authorship remains a mystery, the Polifilo was first published in Venice at the Aldine Press in 1499, and subsequenteditionsofthe book appeared overthe following four centuries in Italy, France, and England. The first chapter addresses Leonardo Grassi's dedication of the Polifilo to Guidobaldo de Montefeltro, Duke ofUrbino, and considers the book in light ofthe culture ofhis filmed court, whichwastypifiedbyCastiglione'sportrait ofGuidobaldo's court inllCortegiano. The second and third chapter analyze the language, the prose, and the woodcuts in the Hvpnerotomachia in relation to Grassi's observations on the book's "abundant knowledge" and its "hidden," abstract nature. The final chapter explores, through two selected examples, the genesisand relationship ofthe imagesand text. The present study provides an introduction to the ways inwhichthe images and text functiontogether to render Poliphilo's dream vision, an analysis of the literary and visual traditions that shaped this relationship, a consideration ofthe book in light ofRenaissance courtly culture, and, finally a discussion ofthe book's legacy in art and literature.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-19 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:37:11.

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