Carolyn Trant

Artist: Carolyn Trant (UK)

Title: Caccia di Diana

Medium/technique(s): My book is made as an accordion book with six card pages and cut and collaged papers, some hand-painted, and designed to be easily displayed open for this exhibition. The covers are wood veneered boards and it has a decorated slipcase.

Edition size: 1

Artist Statement: Caccia di Diana (Diana’s Hunt), was Boccaccio’s first book written around 1333-34 when he was about 20 years old. It is quite playful and related to stories by Ovid; I was attracted by the mysterious figure of the stag, who, unlike Actaeon, survives, and his ‘lady’, not named but probably ‘Fiammetta’, little flame. The plot is thus: the narrator sees the goddess Diana bathing and sends her nymphs out to the four quarters of the world to hunt roebuck, boar, lion and unicorn. Then a posse of Neapolitan noblewomen rush in to hunt, crashing through the woods chasing and killing all manner of beasts including a family of snakes. On the advice of a mysterious ‘fair lady’ they pile their trophies on a sacrificial fire dedicated to Venus, from which they spring transformed into beautiful young men, who running through a river emerge mantled in vermillion. As a final twist the narrator, who we now learn was actually a stag all along, is similarly transformed and offered to the ‘fairest lady’.

The subject matter fitted well with my other work where a lot of storytelling grows out of the forest – the book is stored in its box which is like a wood with a stag and a snake.

I enjoyed playing with combined archaic and modern references in the way that Boccaccio probably did; the style of the titling is suggestive of archive and museum practice.

The last image uses early anatomy diagrams as the two main characters reveal themselves intimately to each other in all their corporeal glory – ‘this is what I am made of’, compared to the mythical and spiritual characters they are mixed up with in the story. I love the questing to-ing and fro-ing between material and spiritual in the art and literature of the medieval period.

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One response

11 07 2013
Locating Boccacio - Medieval Histories

[…] Carolyn Trant […]

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