As archetypes of human virtue and vice, the gods and heroes of ancient Greece and Rome have figured prominently in Western culture. In art, they have been portrayed time and time again, especially during the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods.

Gods and Heroes in Art aims to help museum patrons and art lovers recognize the legendary characters of classical antiquity in art. The characters are each described in entries summarizing their distinctive stories, their special attributes, and the ways in which artists have depicted them. Each entry is richly illustrated with reproductions of works of art in which the god or hero is pictured, giving readers a chance to examine images of the character and to understand the work of art better.

The informative guide first surveys the pantheon of the Greco-Roman world, then focuses on characters from the Trojan War and The Odyssey. The next sections describe kings, philosophers, warriors, and other historical figures. The book concludes with useful indexes, including a list of iconographic symbols associated with the subjects, and a bibliography of essential resources.

Art has saved lives. Whether it has been through writing, movies, or painting, many people have named art as a huge influence in their lives. So I always find it interesting that people don’t think of artists as heroes.

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