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April 4 , 2003

Don Quixote and Renaissance Art: A Lecture by Frederick A. de Armas

Frederick A. deArmas

Frederick A. de Armas, Andrew W. Mellon Endowed Chair in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, will deliver the lecture “A Quixotic Museum: Cervantes, the Grotesque, and Italian Art” on Monday, April 7, at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium. It is the first lecture of an annual series organized by the Romance Languages and Literatures Program at MHC. Interdisciplinary in his approach, de Armas will connect Miguel de Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote with paintings by Italian artists such as Arcimboldo, Botticelli, and Raphael and will address the impact of grotesque drawings on Cervantes’s new theory of the grotesque. On April 8, de Armas will deliver a second lecture, “Dancing with Giants: Ekphrasis in Don Quijote I.8,” on Don Quixote’s famous battle with windmills. That presentation will take place Tuesday, April 8, at 4 pm in Herter Hall 301 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo is celebrated for “Summer” and other grotesque portraits rendered with clumps of fruits and other materials. He was among those artists who influenced Miguel de Cervantes, says de Armas.

Professor de Armas is an eminent scholar in U.S. Hispanism and an authority on the European Renaissance. He has been studying the relationship between the verbal and the visual in early modern Spanish literature and Italian art for much of his career and has written prolifically on most aspects of early modern European literatures and cultures. His most recent book, Cervantes, Raphael, and the Classics (Cambridge University Press, 1998), shows how Cervantes’s tragedy La Numancia is engaged in conversation with classical authors of Greece and Rome, especially through the interpretations of antiquity presented by the artist Raphael.

Both lectures are organized by the Mount Holyoke College Romance Languages and Literatures Program and are cosponsored by the departments of Spanish and Portuguese, French and Italian, and art at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Smith College’s Spanish and Portuguese department; Mount Holyoke’s Spanish and Italian department, the first-year seminar program, and the art department’s Amy M. Sacker Fund; and the Five College Lecture Fund.



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