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Influssi dell’India antica nell’arte dell’Occidente medievale. Un apologo d’origine indiana nella chiesa di San Francesco a Pozzuolo Martesana

digital Influssi dell’India antica nell’arte dell’Occidente medievale.
Un apologo d’origine indiana nella chiesa di San Francesco
a Pozzuolo Martesana
Articolo
rivista ARTE LOMBARDA
fascicolo ARTE LOMBARDA - 2016 - 3
titolo Influssi dell’India antica nell’arte dell’Occidente medievale. Un apologo d’origine indiana nella chiesa di San Francesco a Pozzuolo Martesana
autore
editore Vita e Pensiero
formato Articolo | Pdf
online da 05-2017
issn 0004-3443 (stampa)
€ 6,00

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In the church of San Francesco at Pozzuolo Martesana, near Milan, on the left wall of the north apsidiole one can see an interesting fresco, which can be dated back to the late thirteenth century. The fresco is an unusual pictorial reworking of an apologue originated from ancient India. This apologue – which can already be found, in another version, in the great Indian epic Mahābhārata – was brought to medieval Europe thanks to the diffusion of the Legend of Barlaam and Ioasaph, into which it was merged through a complex process of textual transmission. This text, written on Mount Athos between the tenth and eleventh century by the Georgian monk Euthymius (955-1028), is undoubtedly a christianized version of Buddha’s life. In this version the apologue recounted in the text – the fourth in the narrative sequence – is known as The Wayfarer and the Unicorn. In the fresco at Pozzuolo Martesana, as well as in every other figurative work in medieval Italian (and not only Italian) monumental art, the apologue reveals itself to be a genuine example of representational reworking. This version distinguishes itself from the written text owing especially to a narrative enlargement. More generally, from a historical and anthropological point of view, this interesting fresco, rather unknown as yet, deserves to be regarded – as well as all the other representational reworkings of the apologue existing in the Italian peninsula – as a noteworthy evidence of the process which, during the Middle Ages, led to the migration of texts from East to West.

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