Ecological Myth: Ovid and the Anthropocene in three examples of contemporary Danish art






  • Jonathan Barnes Aarhus University


At a time of increasing ecological anxiety, Ovid’s Metamorphoses gains a new relevance for its distinct portrayal of the relationship between humanity and the environment. While the poem has exerted a significant historic influence in the visual arts, the text’s importance reemerges for artists today as they explore current preoccupations about anthropogenic climate change, environmental degradation and posthumanist futures. The significance of this 21st-century reception of Ovid in the visual arts, however, is yet to be fully examined. In this paper, I consider the work of three contemporary Danish artists,who draw the Metamorphoses into ecological discourse, representing the afterlife of the poem in the Anthropocene.

Riferimenti bibliografici

Allen C. (2002), Ovid and Art, in The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, edited by P. Hardie, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ARoS (2021), Sif Itona Westerberg – Immemorial, < >, 19.7. 2023.

Bonneuil C., Fressoz J. (2016), The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History, and Us, translated by D. Fernbach, New York: Verso.

Braidotti R. (2019), Posthuman Critical Theory, in Posthuman Glossary, edited by R. Braidotti, M. Hlavajova, London: Bloomsbury.

Clark T. (2015), Ecocriticism on the Edge : the Anthropocene as a Threshold Concept, London: Bloomsbury.

Cox F. (2018), Ovid’s Presence in Contemporary Women’s Writing, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crutzen P., Stoermer E. (2000), The “Anthropocene”, «IGBP Newsletter» 41, 12.

Dancer T. (2021), Critical modesty in contemporary fiction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Danish Arts Foundation (2022), Danish Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 23 April – 27 November 2022, < >, 19.7.2023.

DeBrohun J.B. (2004), Centaurs in Love and War: Cyllarus and Hylonome in Ovid “Metamorphoses” 12.393-428, «The American Journal of Philology», 125(3), pp. 417-452.

Den Frie (2023), We Walked the Earth: Harnessing, < >, 19.7.2023.

Ellis E.C. (2018), Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Guattari F. (2014), The Three Ecologies, London: Bloomsbury.

Katsikopoulou M. (2022), Danish pavilion unveils transhuman installation ‘We Walked the Earth’ at Venice Art Biennale, < >, 19.7.2023.

Martelli F. (2020), Ovid, Boston: Brill.

McKibben B. (1990), The End of Nature, London: Viking.

Lawrence E. (1994), The Centaur: Its History and Meaning in Human Culture, «Journal of popular culture», 27(4), pp. 57-68.

Ovid (2004), Metamorphoses, translated by D. Raeburn, London: Penguin.

Postclassicisms Collective (2020), Postclassicisms, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Soper K. (1995), What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-human, Oxford: Blackwell.

Tsing A.L. (2015), The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Biografia autore

Jonathan Barnes, Aarhus University

PhD Fellow

Come citare

Barnes, J. (2024). Ecological Myth: Ovid and the Anthropocene in three examples of contemporary Danish art. Il Capitale Culturale. Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage, pp. 553–575.