My starting point is Bernard Beatty’s discussion on the relationship between art and pain in his essay ‘Fiction’s Limit and Eden’s Door’ in Byron and the Limits of Fiction. Drawing attention to Byron’s linkage of suffering and creativity in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Cantos III and IV, Beatty observes:

Indeed, when Art does not immediately disclose this connection as it does in the Laocoon group [of Canto IV], Byron goes out of his way to remind us that the serene dome of St Peter’s is ‘Christ’s mighty shrine above his martyr’s tomb!’ or, more emphatically still, that the Apollo Belvedere’s life of ‘beautiful disdain’ must somehow proceed from the suffering of its creator […]. Byron insists that all Art is like this, indebted to Promethean fire as suffering as well as spark and that we can therefore always detect the way it ‘breathes the flame with which ’twas wrought’. 1