Ovid Illustrated: The Reception of Ovid's Metamorphoses in Image and Text

More Faces of Ovid: Ovidian "Portraits"

Though the Renaissance wishfully trafficked in various "ancient" portraits of Ovid, no authentic ancient likeness of Ovid is currently known to exist. The most generative would-be antiquities are a stone likeness given to Ovidian Ercole Ciofano by his student Giulio Agapito in Ovid's home town of Sulmona around 1580 and a much-bandied medal acquired by noted Roman collector Felicia Rondanini sometime before 1629, when Daniel Heinsius referred to it in his own edition of Ovid. These two objects directly or not so directly yield most if not all of the portraits of Ovid comprised in the texts on our site. Giovanni Pansa (Ovidio nel Medioevo, chap. 12) gives a useful and largely compelling account of how both objects gained their ill-grounded cachet; Ovid's "medal" is really a coin issued by Augustus Caesar's friend Vedius Pollio, with its Greek legend OUHIDIOS KAISAREON tweaked to produce the more saleable OUHIDIOS NASON; this medal then serves as a model for other such latter-day relics in metal and semi-precious stone, with the subject's nose steadily lengthened to bear out the promise of Ovid's cognomen. The stone head from Sulmona with its non-Augustan long hairstyle was most likely a fragment of an early-humanist monument to a favorite native son; another fifteenth-century effigy of Ovid still stands in its high place of honor in downtown Sulmona today (with Trapp's article see the first two of our numbered external links). And as if Ovid's city, not Caesar's, were now on the move, a still more august sculptural rendering of Ovid from still later days now presides over Ovid's place of exile in Tomis (now Constanta, Romania) as well as another grand square in the poet's hometown.

    P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses Expositae (Antwerp, 1591)
   Antonio Tempesta, ill., Metamorphoseon sive Transformationum Ovidianarum (Antwerp, 1606)
   Crispin de Passe, ill., P. Ovid. Nasonis XV. Metamorphoseon Librorum figurae elegantissimae (Arnheim, 1607)
  N. Renouard, tr., Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide, Traduites en Prose Françoise (Paris, 1619)
   Ludwig Gottfried, P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseon ... Historica Moralis Naturalis Ekphrasis (Frankfurt, 1619)
   Daniel Heinsius, ed., Pub. Ovidii Nasonis Opera (Amsterdam, 1629)
  G. Bersmann, ed., P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseωn Libri XV (Cambridge, 1631)
       George Sandys, tr., Ovid's Metamorphosis (1632)
  N. Renouard, tr., Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide, Traduites en Prose Françoise (Paris, 1651)
  J. Micyllus, tr., Publ. Ovidii Nasonis ... Metamorphoseon Libri Quindecim (Stetin, 1653)
   Pierre du Ryer, ed. and tr., Métamorphoses d'Ovide (Brussels, 1677; repr. Amsterdam, 1702)
   Daniel Crispinus, ed., Ovidii Operum Tomus Secundus (Leyden, 1689)
   P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseωn Libri VII (Nuremburg, 1698)
   B. Cnipping, ed., Ovidii Operum Tomus Tertius (Amsterdam, 1702)
   Samuel Garth et al., trs., Ovid's Metamorphosis (London, 1717)
   Samuel Garth et al., trs., Ovid's Metamorphosis (Amsterdam, 1732)
    Johann G. Walch, ed., Ovidii Opera Quae Supersunt (Leipzig, 1739)
   P. Ovidii Nasonis Operum Tomus Secundus (Amsterdam, 1752)
   Joseph Juvencius, ed., Metamorphoseon Libri XV Expurgati et Explanati (Milan, 1754)
   Daniel Crispinus, ed., Metamorphoseon Libri XV (Dublin, 1762)
   Métamorphoses gravées, ed. Le Mire and Basan (Paris, 1770?)
   Métamorphoses, tr. J. G. Dubois-Fontanelle (Paris, 1772)
    Les Elegies d'Ovide (Paris, 1799)
    Nathan C. Brooks, ed., The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidius Naso (New York, 1860)
    Commemorative Coin Featuring Ovid (Romania, 2008)

Donati brevissime puerorum institutiones, 1571More Faces of Ovid:
Some External Links
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Anon. portrait-bust, ancient

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