Womanly images and Chastity

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"Indeed, it became a commonplace to describe the peculiar quality of Greek art under the metaphor of chasity"

I was curious about greek art and what this quote meant. From what I found, and it wasn't much, greek artists usually used goddesses to display chastity especially Artemis, she was the goddess of and protector of chastity. Many artists liked to use some kind of image that Keats speaks about in his Urn poem.

I was also curious about the vases that Keats could have possibly used in some way for his poem. Appearently the portland vase was usually used to show off scenes about marriage. Some scenes would show something happening in the mythical relm. This vase is dated back to ancient Rome.

The Townley Vase was used to show off gods and goddesses.

Borghese vase doesn't seem much different from the portland vase, but it still shows us some kind of scene that may have influenced Keats.

The South Frieze of the Parthenon is one of the other pieces that are said to have influenced Keats.

After seeing all of these pieces I think it's funny that several critics now even Garson have even said that Keats was interested in Greek art and spent a lot of time looking at it. Most likely he was influenced by several pieces yet there are people out there that are convinced that there was once specific urn out there that he was talking about. When you look at these pieces you can see that he took something different from each one to create his own masterpiece of work.

Back to Garson



I think all writers are influenced in some way by what they see and hear, especially if they already have an interest in a certain subject matter. I'm inclined to agree with the critics who feel that Keats used several different urns to create his fictional urn in the poem. This just seems to make sense to me. It would be possible, but improbable that he found an urn that had everything just perfectly displayed on it to create such a vivid and interesting poem.

Greta Carroll said:

I agree with both of you. Keats probably got his urn from not one, but several urns and therefore it was an imaginative construct. My question is this, why do the critics even care what the “real” urn looked like? After all, as Guetti explained in our reading for last week, “What it [the urn] offers us does not even ‘belong,’ properly, to the Greeks or to any particular culture: the same poem could have been written about any human artifact whose historical identity has been erased, so that we could no longer know the answer to the questions Keats keeps asking about it” (390). The poem doesn’t even need to be about an urn necessarily, the same general meaning could be gotten across regardless of the medium.

Angela Palumbo said:

I guess that the critics care because they need something to do, Greta. Having said that, I also think that he probably did take the influence from several pieces. (Trust me though, I am not implying that I have nothing to do...ugh! I wish this was the case.)

Sue, this is good work. I really liked how you went through and linked to all the different vases. This helped me to understand the article better. Thank you!

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