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Narcissus, a figure derived ultimately from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is regarded as the inventor of painting in Leon Battista Alberti’s Della pittura. The acceptance of Narcissus as the exemplar of pictorial mimesis has been encouraged by three factors, namely mimetic metaphor, Renaissance classicism, and the aggressive authorial stance of the Humanism. Cristelle L. Baskins reassesses Alberti’s Narcissus in two ways: First, since the nymph Echo does not appear in the Della pittura, a homoerotically-charged Narcissus, as the solitary inventor of painting, represents an exclusively masculine creativity, and is disassociated from Pliny’s “shadow theory”; Second, Narcissus could be feminized, because the flower and the reflection in the pool are both surfaces of substance. Such an androgynous or indeterminate Narcissus reveals the unfixed and mobile boundaries of faulty and erroneous desire. Baskins also points out Alberti’s authorial identification with Narcissus. 

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