Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Visions of Archaic Gods in 16th-century Europe

Giulio Bonasone (active in Bologna)
Pan carrying pipes
British Museum

Giulio Bonasone (active in Bologna)
Pan discovering Pitys changed by Boreas into a pine tree
British Museum

From the gloaming of the oak-wood
O ye Dryads, could ye flee?
At the rushing thunderstroke would
No sob tremble through the tree? 
Not a word the Dryads say,
Though the forests wave for aye,
                         For Pan is dead.

Have ye left the mountain places
Oreads wild, for other tryst?
Shall we see no sudden faces
Strike a glory through the mist?
Not a sound the silence thrills
Of the everlasting hills.
                         Pan, Pan is dead.

O twelve gods of Plato's vision
Crowned to starry wanderings 
With your chariots in procession
And your silver clash of wings!
Very pale ye seem to rise
Ghosts of Grecian deities 
                         Now Pan is dead!

Giulio Bonasone (active in Bologna)
Pan vanquished by Cupid
British Museum

Amico Aspertini (active in Bologna)
Pan and other Bacchic figures dancing before arcaded loggia
(after a Roman sarcophagus-relief)

ca. 1530-40
British Museum

Nicoletto da Modena (active in Modena)
 Pan with pipes, child and goat
ca. 1500-1510
British Museum

Benedetto Montagna (active in Vicenza)
Musical contest between Apollo and Pan
ca. 1500-1520
British Museum

Ha, Apollo!  Floats his golden
Hair all mist-like where he stands,
While the Muses hang enfolding
Knee and foot with faint wild hands?
'Neath the clanging of thy bow,
Niobe looked lost as thou!
                         Pan, Pan is dead!

Shall the casque with its brown iron
Pallas' broad blue eyes eclipse,
And no hero take inspiring
From the God-Greek of her lips?
'Neath her olive dost thou sit,
Mars the mighty, cursing it?
                         Pan, Pan is dead.

Bacchus, Bacchus! on the panther
He swoons  bound with his own vines!
And his Maenads slowly saunter,
Head aside, among the pines,
While they murmur dreamingly 
"Evohe  ah  evohe  !"
                         Ah, Pan is dead.

Marcantonio (active in Rome)
Bacchanal after Roman sarcophagus-relief, formerly in Rome, now in Naples
ca. 1510-27
British Museum

Jacob Binck (active in Germany) after Marcantonio
Female Satyr and statue of Priapus (right-hand detail of Bacchanal directly above)
ca. 1530-60
British Museum

Marco da Ravenna (active in Rome) after design by Raphael
for fresco painted by Giulio Romano
in the bathroom of Cardinal Bibbiena at the Vatican
Pan spying on Syrinx
British Museum

Giovanni Battista Palumbra (active in Rome)
Priapus approaching sleeping Lotis
ca. 1500-1510
British Museum

Jacopo de' Barbari (active in Venice and in Germany)
Sacrifice to Priapus
ca. 1501-1503
British Museum

Nikolaus Wilborn (active in Germany) after Jacopo de' Barbari
Sacrifice to Priapus
ca. 1531-38
British Museum

Gods! we vainly do adjure you 
Ye return nor voice nor sign!
Not a votary could secure you
Even a grave for your Divine!
Not a grave, to show thereby,
Here these gray old gods do lie.
                         Pan, Pan is dead.

Even that Greece who took your wages,
Calls the obolus outworn;
And the hoarse deep-throated ages
Laugh your godship unto scorn 
And the poets do disclaim you,
Or grow colder if they name you 
                         And Pan is dead.

Gods bereavèd, gods belated,
With your purples rent asunder!
Gods discrowned and desecrated,
Disinherited of thunder!
Now, the goats may climb and crop
The soft grass on Ida's top 
                         Now Pan is dead.

Master of 1515 (active in Italy)
Trophy of Arms with Term of Pan
British Museum

Master of the Die (active in Rome)
Sacrifice to Priapus
British Museum

Pieter van der Heyden (active in Antwerp)
Sacrifice to Priapus
British Museum

Calm, of old, the bark went onward,
When a cry more loud than wind,
Rose up, deepened, and swept sunward,
From the pilèd Dark behind;
And the sun shrank and grew pale,
Breathed against by the great wail 
                              "Pan, Pan is dead."

And the rowers from the benches
Fell  each shuddering on his face 
While departing influences
Struck a cold back through the place;
And the shadow of the ship
Reeled along the passive deep 
                              "Pan, Pan is dead."

And that dismal cry rose slowly,
And sank slowly through the air,
Full of spirit's melancholy
And eternity's despair!
And they heard the words it said 
"Pan is dead  Great Pan is dead 
                               Pan, Pan is dead."

 stanzas excerpted from The Dead Pan (1844) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning