Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art will launch an exciting new summer exhibition, ekphrasis, on June 15. Taking as its premise the ancient technique of responding to visual works of art through the written word (“ekphrasis”), this show provides a unique platform for graduate students in Fairfield University’s MFA in creative writing program to showcase newly created “ekphrastic” works of poetry and prose.
Envisioned by museum director Jill Deupi as an annual event, ekphrasis highlights the work of poet and author Jeanne Delarm-Neri, who has created six new poems that respond directly to works in the Bellarmine Museum’s collections. From a delicate 14th-century French ivory diptych (on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters) to plaster casts after masterworks from the Parthenon frieze, DeLarm-Neri engages with a broad cross-section of objects in the museum.
Deupi said, “Such writings give voice to a very personal aesthetic experience, which in turn provides our visitors with new points of departure for their own interpretations and musings. For example, Ms. Delarm-Neri writes of an 18th-century work, by the Neapolitan master Paolo de’Matteis, Andromeda and Perseus: ‘They fly to the twisted city./They deposit the heads of monsters.’
“Such evocative language encourages us to focus on details in the painting we might otherwise overlook, and to think anew about the myths, legends and episodes from history with which we may already be familiar. These poems similarly remind us of the close ties that have bound the literary and the visual arts throughout history; above all, during antiquity. Perhaps most importantly ekphrasis provides the Bellarmine Museum with a wonderful opportunity to collaborate across the curriculum.”
Professor Michael White, program director of the MFA in creative writing and author of six novels, including “Beautiful Assassin” and “Soul Catcher,” concurs: “The museum is an untapped resource permitting our students not only the pleasure of viewing, but the inspirational vehicle to enter into the creative act themselves.”
For further information
Call: (203) 254-4046
The museum’s summer hours are: June, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., no appointment necessary. July and August, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., prior appointment necessary.