Foundations

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.

Paradise, by Lucas Cranach  the Elder, 1530, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

The fall of man and the concept of Original Sin.

A papyrus leaf from the Book of the Dead of Imenemsauf.

The ancient Egyptian gods of creation and knowledge vanquish the ‘Lord of Chaos’.

Saint George and the Dragon, by Paolo Uccello, c.1470.

A medieval myth with deep roots that captured the imagination of western Europe’s age of chivalry.

The Fall of Phaeton by Peter Paul Rubens, 1605, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

A horrifying tale of reckless daring and ecological catastrophe.