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Title: Recalling humankind’s bond with nature and beauty through the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and its reassessment
Authors: Catania, Maria
Keywords: Orpheus -- (Greek mythological character)
Eurydice -- (Greek mythological character)
Mythology, Greek
Ruskin, John, 1819-1900
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Catania, M. (2018). Recalling humankind’s bond with nature and beauty through the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and its reassessment (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: This project and dissertation will draw parallels between the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and the modern/contemporary issue, where nature and beauty seem to have been either exploited or completely forgotten. Regrettably, the Maltese context testifies to this through the heedless spoliation of the natural environment where buildings rise in grotesque forms and abundance. The notion of beauty in this project is inseparable from nature (the natural world). Additionally, the project will be delving into a similar idea of nature and beauty which was explored in the mid nineteenth century, particularly by John Ruskin and Julia Margaret Cameron. The Ruskinesque notion of beauty derives itself from nature, and art which separates itself from nature is ugly, immoral and vile. The demise of nature and beauty is witnessed both in the artistic context as well as in contemporary mainstream society. The art, architecture and society of our mainstream and contemporary world have become estranged from nature. The connection between humankind and the natural world is difficult to perceive in a society which destroys natural beauty to make way for monstrous buildings. One does not have to go far to witness this dystopian phenomenon, for this has become the local reality of today. The majority of popular art in the modern and contemporary spheres has become more difficult for people to understand and sympathize with. The nineteenth century idea of nature and beauty channelled by Ruskin and Cameron is now overlooked. Most people are not moved anymore by incomprehensible pictures or forms in space. Furthermore, humanity today appears to have been desensitized by the violence or ugliness in the world. Perhaps now, after almost a century of war and angst, humanity needs to reexperience and re-witness beauty again both in the world and in art. Maybe humankind needs to find peace and tranquillity again and return to the past to learn from it and adapt it to our contemporary world. In Ovid‟s Metamorphoses, Orpheus was granted a chance to retrieve his wife Eurydice from the Underworld. He was given this chance solely because of his art. Orpheus fails in his quest to save his wife not because his art is flawed but because he is human – humans are intrinsically susceptible to flaws. In the same way, like Orpheus, the artist‟s role today is to reawaken a sense of respect and love for nature and beauty, which could be represented by Eurydice. The Underworld is the world of ugliness which humanity is descending into today. The feeling of loss and tragedy are already imminent. Hence the project will allude to Rilke‟s sense of estrangement and alienation that have perpetrated the world today. The feeling of tragedy and melancholy which the project aims to transmit, could potentially imbibe other human beings to feel empathy towards the natural world and consequently, re-establish the communion with nature and beauty.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2018
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2018

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