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Foundations

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.

Seated Bodhisattva, Avalokiteśvara, or Guanyin, China, 11th century.

The compassionate Buddhist deity who walks among us.

A cautionary Classical tale of solipsism and self-obsession.

Radha and Krishna Embrace in a Grove of Flowering Trees.

Man and god seek love and unity in one of the most celebrated Hindu myths.

A master of the early Renaissance depicts the moment that Christians regard as the confirmation of Jesus’ divinity.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c.1555

In the first of a series on the myths and fables that inform the world’s civilisations, a tragic tale of hubris.