Keynote Address: Dr. Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian, Yale University; Closing Address: Dr. Hendrik Dey, Professor of Art History, Hunter College. The students of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in the specialization of Italian and the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago present an interdisciplinary graduate student conference.
The motto “Love conquers all” has become ubiquitous for love’s ability to overcome all obstacles, physical as well as psychological, that impede the union of two lovers. However, in its original context “amor vincit omnia” in Virgil actually refers to love’s ability to destroy both the lover and the beloved; the speaker of this phrase, Gallus, immediately kills himself after its declaration. The destructive nature of love has been addressed by Italian artists and writers from antiquity to modern times. Virgil’s depiction of Dido, Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, Dante’s Paolo and Francesca, Verdi’s Aida, and, more recently, Fellini’s Cabiria and De Chirico’s Ariadne all explore love’s disastrous consequences. This conference aims to explore the varieties of representation of sorrowful love and its evolution over time; new understandings that can be gleaned from a variety of evidence; and dialogue and divergence between portrayals of tragic Italian love across the Humanities.