One of twins born of a Vestal Virgin, he was suckled by a she-wolf and raised by a swineherd. Marvellous paintings by the Carraccis, Rubens, and Mignard.
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.
The most famous of all, with its origins in Afghanistan, the most precious and beautiful pigment. But it has caught out some of the best forgers too.
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.
Lead-tin yellow features in many paintings of the Old Masters, until about 1750. It was then replaced and forgotten until 1940. Examples in major masterpieces from Rembrandt, da Vinci, Vermeer, and others.
It’s not a colour at all, say some, while the Impressionists wanted to banish it from the palette. But throughout the history of painting, the blackest black has remained vital.
When it was first used as a pigment, this vegetable dye proved reliable and lightfast. Later technique, though, resulting in it fading. Why?
After a short story of Hercules saving Myscelus, Ovid presents the doctrines of Pythagoras, including advocacy of vegetarianism, and philosophy of change. Raphael and Rubens.
Take some blue glass, grind it, and turn it into paint: Smalt is one of the strangest of pigments. It extensively used until replaced by Prussian Blue in the early 1700s, and is making a comeback.