The Aeneid: Whose side are you on?

Are you #TeamDido or #TeamAeneas? Here at the office, we’re split on the question of who to root for.

Prof. David Green — an ardent supporter of Team Aeneas — sympathizes with Dido’s plight, but recognizes the importance of duty over impious furor. However! Cat Dossett (CAS ’18) thinks that Dido doesn’t need Prof. Green’s sympathy. She wishes instead that Aeneas had drowned in Juno’s fury.

Rallying to Cat’s argument, the ever-dramatic Zak Bos (GRS ’12) says he would have liked to see Aeneas pull his seduce-and-abandon trick on Medea…

The controversy is heated! While you think about where your own allegiance lies, take a gander at the website of the LA County Museum of Art, where you can find some excellent art images of Aeneas and Dido.

The first we’ll look at is by Rutilio Manetti (1571-1639):


In his depiction of “Dido and Aeneas”, Manetti places a spotlight on the lovers, highlighting the two’s passionate expressions. They have eyes only for each other as the background is blanketed in shadow. Hands and eyes, locked in passion… You get the idea.

Compare Maetti’s piece to these two paintings by Jean-Bernard Restout (1732-1797), “Aeneas and Dido Fleeing the Storm” and “The Departure of Dido and Aeneas for the Hunt”:

4x5 Transparency

4x5 original

Restout doesn’t focus on just the lovers. He’s got lots of angels and horses and puppy-dogs and other such figures, makin’ a lotta ruckus as Aeneas and Dido try to get on with their lovin’. Looks like their relationship was more complicated than we thought…

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