Rome saved from invasion of Lars Porsena and his Tuscans/Etruscans, by the bravery of one man, Horatius Cocles.
As one of the last true Renaissance men, his artistic and diplomatic careers depended on his patrons – as much as they depended on him.
Loyal to their master or mistress, often to the point of self-sacrifice. Paintings by Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez, Courbet and Bonnard.
Godfrey’s siege is stalled due to a bewitched wood, then the temperatures rise and streams dry up. The pressure is on him, so they try to find the missing Rinaldo. Superb paintings from Poussin and others.
Much happened during his time as Rome’s great statesman: Lucretia was raped and her suicide inspired revolution. Then came the transition to a republic. Paintings by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Rubens and van Dyck, and more.
Borrowed from the Church, parasols became an accessory of the aristocracy, then for all who were fashionable. They went from black to white, then Japanese.
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.
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.
How Vertumnus tried to trick Pomona into loving him, then told her a threatening story. Neither worked: it was being himself that won her in the end.
The popular story told concisely by Ovid, and painted brilliantly by van Dyck, Leighton, Rubens, Brueghel, and others.