Foundations

Triumph of Galatea, c.1512, by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael), Villa Farnesina, Rome © Getty Images.

The water nymph, whose affair with a peasant shepherd inspired numerous works of art.

Ehecatl (left) and Mictlantecuhtli with 20 calendar day signs,  Codex Borgia, c.1450, Apostolic Library, Vatican City © Bridgeman Images.

An ‘almanac of destiny’ predicts the fortunes of the harvest.

The Journey of the Magi to Bethlehem, from the east wall of the Chapel of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, by Benozzo di Lese di Sandro Gozzoli, c.1459 © Bridgeman Images

Three wise men, guided by a star, search for the new-born Christ.

‘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.