Mythology as the ‘condition and subject of all art’ in the varying conceptions of the early German Romantics and neoclassicism: from Schelling and Schlegel to Winckelmann and Goethe, meditations on Laocoon and anticipations of the Gesamtkunstwerk—issuing into the uncanny mythopoeias of modernity in Melville’s Confidence Man and the White Whale.
AFTER THE GODS
For centuries, classical mythology functioned as an intermedium that connected the different arts and anchored them in society. It forged a link between visual art and literature, with the interpretations of humanist scholars often supplying subjects for poets, painters and sculptors alike. This tradition was founded above all on the supreme literary and artistic value attached to ancient culture; while it was clear that the literal subjects were heathen gods and un-Christian heroes, their exploits were allegorized so that a mythological rape scene could suggest an array of profound meanings and become a suitable subject for literature and art.
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