Marvell's 'The Gallery' has been a comparatively neglected poem and has usually been read as a tribute to Clora within the framework of lyric based on Marino's 'La Galeria'. Using well-worn conceits and adopting the pose of an ultra fashionable art connoisseur, Marvell creates a gallery of mirrors that challenges Cavalier notions of compliment while criticizing the Stuart court's obsession with imagery and revealing the darker side of pastoral. Clora has many faces â not one â and the poem fails to reveal her immutable Platonic essence. Among Clora's innumerable portraits five are described: these have no relation to art works of the time but allow Marvell to explore the nature of poetic creativity in his typically oblique way.
Parergon – Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Published: Jan 10, 2006
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