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:: Volume 11, Issue 42 (Spring 2022) ::
کیمیای هنر 2022, 11(42): 67-82 Back to browse issues page
Historical Evolution of the Narrative Theme of Ariadne’s Abandonment in European Painting
Meghdad Javid Sabaghian *, Hoda Refahi, Asadollah Gholamali
Abstract:   (345 Views)
The story of abandonment of Ariadne, a Cretan princess, especially connected with two other mythological characters, Theseus and Dionysus, has drawn the attention of painters and sculptors throughout history. Ariadne, Mino’s daughter, fell in love with Theseus, but Theseus abandoned her, and she was finally found by Dionysus in Naxos Island. Quite a few paintings have emerged in various styles from this theme, i.e. Ariadne’s abandonment by Theseus, Ariadne’s solitariness, and her meeting with Dionysus. This narrative has been portrayed by painters from different perspectives, and the works of paintings available on this theme in antiquity, the Renaissance and Baroque, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries AD have undergone fundamental evolution and change in terms of form, structure, and narrative style. This paper is aimed at providing a descriptive and analytical account of European works of paintings about Ariadne’s abandonment and identifying and understanding the structural and narrative changes of European works of paintings about this abandonment throughout history (from ancient Greece to the twentieth century).
Importantly, each artist has seen and portrayed this narrative according to his/her style and lived experience from a specific period. The works analyzed in this study belong to historical periods and artistic styles of Renaissance, Baroque, and the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The theme of abandoned Ariadne narrative makes its contextual and iconographic analysis possible with regard to the historical changes and the artists’ desire in each era to select and interpret this legend. In the historical world of myths, Ariadne was left alone in her way to Athens in Naxos Island, but the depiction of this narrative in painting at different times and in different works has opened a new symbolic aspect of it and given it a new interpretation. There are more than five hundred images of this theme available from classical Greece to modern art. Three well-known and recurring scenes of this story can be examined. The first is the scene where Ariadne falls asleep and is abandoned by Theseus by Athena’s guidance and decree. The second is the scene where Dionysus finds Ariadne Naxos Island in great sadness and appeases her. It is in this scene that they hold a feast and celebrate their wedding. The third scene portrays Ariadne left alone after waking up, while gazing upon Theseus’s ship moving away at sea. Examining these works indicates that the frequency, repetition and attention to the importance of each of these scenes change in different periods. Ancient Greek paintings often portray the first scene. During the Renaissance and Baroque, it is the second scene that is often portrayed, while the third scene draws the painter’s attention from the late eighteenth century, and particularly the nineteenth century.
Using library resources and qualitative and descriptive-analytical method, this study aimed to analyze the paintings pertaining to Ariadne’s abandonment in the historical course from antiquity to the beginning of the twentieth century and to present a reading of them. The results suggest the evolution of this narrative theme throughout the history of painting.
Keywords: myth, abandonment, Ariadne, Theseus, Dionysus
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/10/18 | Accepted: 2022/06/19
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Javid Sabaghian M, Refahi H, Gholamali A. Historical Evolution of the Narrative Theme of Ariadne’s Abandonment in European Painting. کیمیای هنر. 2022; 11 (42) :67-82
URL: http://kimiahonar.ir/article-1-2082-en.html


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