Filarete's "Odysseus and Iros:" Its Meaning and Albertian Source
Thomas Martin (Independent Scholar, New York)
My current project concerns a bronze relief in Vienna, by the sculptor and architect Filarete (c. 1400-c. 1466), that depicts an extremely rare subject in Western art: Odysseus’ fight with the beggar Iros from Book 18 of the Odyssey. During the 1400s, Homeric subjects of any kind were almost unknown in the visual arts, and that a bronze relief should show an episode from Homer, let alone a minor episode, is unique. The choice of subject matter can, however, be explained by its mention and significance in a text by Filarete’s friend, Leon Battista Alberti. The connection with Alberti also allows the Stoic content of Filarete’s relief to be recognized. My paper thus explains the meaning of an important yet overlooked Renaissance artwork, it surveys an unexplored aspect of the reception of Homer in the Renaissance, plus it sheds new light on Alberti’s influence on contemporary artworks.
The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. As usual, social hour will be from 5-6, dinner 6-7, and the talk 7-8:30. The cost for dinner, payable by check only, is $30. When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner; please give 10 days advance notice.