The “METAMORPOSEON LIBRI” is a Latin poem of fifteen volumes, consisting of approximately 12,000 lines by the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-17 AC). In all of the quite amazing and adventurous stories of this poem, Ovid sketches the lives of the classical gods, other mythical figures as well as simple mortals, who each undergo a dramatic transfiguration (=metamorphosis) through which fate suddenly takes a dramatic turn.
Of all the classical literature, in the 16th and 17th centuries the “Metamorphoses” were by far the most translated, varied, commented and illustrated. In 1604, the Dutch painter-poet Karel van Mander (1548-1606) wrote in his famous ‘Schilderboeck’ that the “Metamorphosen van Ovidius” were considered no less than the ‘Painter’s Bible’, because it provided an inexhaustible source for artists to invent their ‘Historien’. The great variety of these so called ‘heydense fabulen’ has inspired several masters of 17th century painting and printmaking, such as Rembrandt and his contemporaries. Indeed, many famous masterpieces would have been unthinkable without the “Metamorphoses” as a direct source.
Humbly following the footsteps of his inspiring predecessors, in his CONTERFEYTER-series René Klarenbeek will paint and present, in addition to his growing contemporary staging of several classical themes from sources such as the “Metamorphoses” in His(S)tories, a number of improvised transfigurations of various individuals, human or not, in new life size illusionistic settings.