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Shakespeare & Beyond

Up Close: Gods and mortals in Ovid's Metamorphoses

How well do you know your Greek and Roman mythology? The title page of this 1626 edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses from the Folger collection depicts gods, goddesses, and other notable figures that appear in the Roman poet’s masterwork.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses has influenced writers and artists throughout history (including Shakespeare) and is the source material for Mary Zimmerman’s Tony-nominated play Metamorphoses, which is coming to the Folger stage next month. The director, Psalmayene 24, and scenic designer, Lawrence E. Moten III, counted this title page among their sources of inspiration for the set design.

This 1626 translation of Metamorphoses was done by the English poet George Sandys. At the time he was serving as treasurer in the American colony of Virginia, making this work the first significant literary translation to be done in North America.

Click through the arrows in the viewer below to zoom in on specific mythological figures, and see if you can identify who they are based on their appearance and the symbols that accompany them.



Ovid’s classic stories of the loves, losses, and transformations of gods and mortals are reimagined for the 21st century in Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation.
Tue, May 7 – Sun, Jun 23, 2024
Folger Theatre