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Sleeping Beauty, from Ariadne to Walt Disney (and back), a lecture by Monica Centanni



Sleeping Beauty, from Ariadne to Walt Disney (and back), a lecture by Monica Centanni

“Let us tell an old story a new and we will see how well you know

Maleficent (Walt Disney Pictures, 2014)


Continuing on our series “Protecting Intangible Heritage” and as kick-off of the programs for the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, the Italian Cultural Institute invites you to “Sleeping Beauty, from Ariadne to Walt Disney (and back)”, a lecture by Prof. Monica Centanni with an introduction by Dr. Christopher Celenza, Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University and Professor of History and Classics.

Ancient myths have a vital energy that, during the course of history, are ‘re-loaded’, revealing new forms and triggering new meanings.

After centuries of oblivion, during the Renaissance, together with other stories from Greek and Latin mythology, the myth of Ariadne resurfaces and gives birth to a series of new images. In the figurative arts, Ariadne reappears as the seductive figure of the “Sleeping Venus”, marking the beginning of an iconographic series that continues until today, in the form of   the Sleeping Beauty who awaits the salvific awakening by a Prince Charming.

In music, we can hear Ariadne’s lament in the first opera ever composed, by Claudio Monteverdi, or in its modern adaptation by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in which we can read, behind the lines, the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche’s own interpretation of Ariadne.


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Monica Centanni

As a classical philologist and a scholar of the Classical Tradition, Monica Centanni devotes her main scientific research interests to Ancient theatre (structures of Greek Tragedy; evolution of Early Drama; political functions of Greek Tragedy; revival of Classical Drama in the 20th century), the culture of Late Antiquity (the Hellenistic novel), the transition from Paganism to Christianity, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and the dynamics of the Classical Tradition and its afterlife in Western Art and Literature. She has published various titles on such subjects, as well as curated different exhibitions, conferences and performances.

Professor at the Università Iuav di Venezia, she teaches Iconology and Classical Tradition, and Dramaturgy and the Origins of Theatre. Since 2009, she has also been Visiting Professor at the University of Catania, where she holds an annual position, teaching a class in Ancient Dramaturgy. Since 2017, she is professor at the Venice International University, teaching Art and Architecture in Renaissance Venice.

Since 2006 she is the Director of ‘classicA – Iuav’ (the Centre for Research and Studies on Architecture and the Classical Tradition).

She contributes to various international conferences, and holds lectures on Greek Literature, Iconology and the Classical Tradition at Italian and foreign universities and cultural institutions, e.g: Université de Lausanne (2003), The National Gallery of London (2004); Italian Cultural Institute in Egypt (Cairo, 2008); Université de Fribourg (2012); Hamburg HafenCity Universität (Hamburg 2015; 2017).

Prof. Centanni curated exhibitions on themes linked to the Classical Tradition: Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas; the fresco cycle in Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara; the persistence of motifs of the Classical Tradition in Contemporary Advertising.

She is the founder (in 2000) and the Director of the on-line journal “La Rivista di Engramma. The Classical Tradition in Western Memory”, (at vol. 150 in October 2017). One of the most important methodological coordinates for studies in the Classical Tradition in “Engramma” is the method taught by Aby Warburg (1866-1929). Warburgian research methods aim to restore an “alchemical marriage” between word and image, and find in web edition – in hypertexts and information technology – their most suitable form of expression.

Her extensive number of publications includes: Eschilo. Le tragedie (Milano 2000); L’originale assente. Introduzione allo studio della tradizione classica (Milano 2005); Il Romanzo di Alessandro (Torino 1991; Milano 2005; Milano 2017); Fantasmi dell’antico. La tradizione classica nel Rinascimento (Rimini 2017).

Christopher S. Celenza

Professor Christopher S. Celenza is the Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University, where he is also a professor of history and classics. He came to the Hilltop from Johns Hopkins University, where he most recently served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and held the Charles Homer Haskins Professorship in classics.

Celenza holds two doctoral degrees: a Ph.D. in history (Duke University, 1995) and a Dr.phil in Classics and Neo-Latin Literature (University of Hamburg, 2001). He has held Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, Villa I Tatti, the American Academy in Rome, and the Fulbright Foundation. He served as the 21st Director of the American Academy in Rome from 2010 to 2014, and as the Director of JHU’s Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe from 2008 to 2010.

He has a broad range of research and teaching interests, including Italian Renaissance-era philosophy, Latin literature and paleography, and the history of books and reading practices.

In addition to his academic positions, Celenza is the author or editor of 10 books and more than 40 scholarly articles in the fields of Italian Renaissance history, post-classical Latin literature and philosophy, and the history of classical scholarship. His book The Lost Italian Renaissance was translated into Italian by publisher Carocci in 2014.

His most recent books are Machiavelli: A Portrait (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015); Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer (London: Reaktion, 2017); and The Intellectual World of the Italian Renaissance: Language, Philosophy, and the Search for Meaning (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, spring 2018).



Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Time: From 6:00 pm To 7:30 pm

Organized by : Italian Cultural Institute

Entrance : Free


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