With the exception of his early history paintings and a few portraits of men, his entire career was devoted to painting beautiful women.
The teacher of Caillebotte, Eakins, Munch, John Singer Sargent, Toulouse-Lautrec and many other artists. But almost forgotten himself.
The first of two looking at the telling of English legends in paintings: Robin Hood and his ‘Merry Men’, popular for the last 500 years.
After abandoning Ariadne on Naxos, he takes a succession of brides, battles with the Amazons, and fights for the Lapiths against the centaurs. But did he rape Helen? Paintings by Corinth, Waterhouse, Rubens, and more.
Was she abducted, seduced, or seducer? Victim or whore? Ovid’s pair of letters between Helen and Paris raises questions which many artists have tried to tackle.
The anger of Achilles almost brought the Greek war against Troy to a grinding halt. But is Homer’s account fair, or was there more to it?
How many in the White House know the story of the memorial fountain just opposite – of Butt and Millet, Tennyson, and Oenone?
Also a grim story of suicidal disembowelling, and a propaganda painting for Napoleon.
The most brilliant history painter of his early career, he became a great teacher, and influenced many artists of the 1800s, including Delacroix.