Foundations

‘A Grecian Harvest Home, or Thanksgiving to the Rural Deities, Ceres, Bacchus Sylvanus and Pan’, from The Progress of Human Culture and Knowledge, by James Barry, c.1777-84, Royal Society  of Arts, London © Bridgeman Images.

A scene of ancient Arcadian bliss which hints at the coming of modernity.

Augustus Closing the Temple  of Janus, by Louis de Silvestre, 1757, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden © akg-images

Rome’s First Citizen brings peace to its territories.

Oedipus and Antigone, or the Plague of Thebes, by Charles Jalabert, 1843, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille © Bridgeman Images

A pitiless, profound and influential Greek myth.

Orpheus, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636-38. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid © akg-images

A Classical myth of enduring love that has inspired artists, writers and composers for centuries.

The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867 © akg-images

A vivid portrait of one of history’s most momentous conspiracies.

The Origin of the Milky Way,  by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1577-79 © akg-images

A deceived god has a creative outburst.

The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1872, National Gallery, Oslo.

A chaotic, menacing assembly of gods and trolls and restless souls.

‘Constantine’s Dream’ by Piero della Francesca, from the fresco cycle, the History of the True  Cross, 1459-66, Basilica di San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy.

A mythical turning point in the history of Europe.

He Xian Gu on a celestial crane, from the album of 18 Taoist paintings by Zhang Lu (1464-1538), displayed in the Shanghai Museum.

The Taoist Immortal.

The Virgin and the Unicorn, by Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino), fresco, 1604-5.

A mythological creature of extraordinary resilience.