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Ekphrasis: the graphic, often dramatic description of a visual work of art
On Ekphrasis: A Caveat
Two of the most memorable ekphrastic passages in antiquity describe shields: Homer's description of the shield of Achilles in the 18th book of the Illiad, and Virgil's description of the shield of Aeneas in the 8th book of the Aeneid. Here, then, is our own shield - we don't edit creative writing for factual accuracy, nor do we select writings that match our own views of the work or works involved. Here the validity of a statement is measured not by how accurately it reflects current scholarship and curatorial judgment regarding an object, but by how well it expresses the genuine reaction of a viewer to that work.
Read, enjoy, respond.
Alex Barker, Director
Poetry from Professor Unrath's class, February 2008 (opens new window)
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Museum of Art and Archaeology | College of Arts and Science | University of Missouri
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