Christian Images and Pagan Images. On the ‘Figure’ of Orpheus in the Transition from Pagan to Christian Culture


  • Daniele Guastini



Ancient Image, Orpheus, Auerbach, Sermo humilis, Kenosis


Returning to the themes that the author discussed in his book Immagini cristiane e cultura antica, the contribution debates the re-use that Christian figurative culture has made of the pagan motif of Orpheus. Starting from this exemplary and widespread case of the survival of a pagan iconographic motif in the Christian context, the article reflects on the modalities and causes of the appropriation and re-signification realized by Christianity of some of the most important emblems drawn from the cultures that preceded it. This has allowed the contribution to return to the crucial question of the typological-figural structure of Christian culture, attributing also to the Christian iconographic tradition the figural character that Erich Auerbach identified in the literary tradition. And, more generally, to broaden the field on the theoretical, stylistic, and functional differences that occurred in the passage from pagan to Christian poetic practice, finding in them a more overall gnoseological divarication.





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