A note above his studio door proclaimed that he drew like Michelangelo and used colour like Titian. A small selection of works leading to his breakthrough in 1548.
In the first few years of his career, he was commissioned to paint a series showing stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. They are simply brilliant.
The depiction of Pandora opening her box and unleashing all its ills on the world remained popular, with paintings by Alma-Tadema, Bouguereau, Waterhouse, Rackham, Redon, and others.
This story remained almost unknown and unpainted until it suddenly became popular after 1850. Paintings by Etty, Rossetti, Cabanel and others.
Another six of the best, from the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs to the assassination of Julius Caesar, from Rubens to Turner.
Six of the best, from Nessus, Deianira and Hercules to the sacrifice of Iphigeia, painted by Tiepolo, Rubens, and others.
The final article in this series looks at Augustus and Cleopatra, the emperor’s patronage of Virgil, and how Ovid’s own legacy has been transformed in paintings.
The story of the assassination of the dictator, told by William Blake, Gérôme, von Piloty, and others.
After three brief tales of strange happenings in early Rome, Ovid gives an account of the bringing of the god Aesculapius to the city, to end an epidemic.
Paintings by Poussin and Claude give different accounts of the meeting and separation by death of King Numa and the nymph Egeria. Did she dictate to him the laws of Rome?