It’s sometimes hard to read a painting without understanding an inscription. Masaccio, Rossetti, Moreau, Corinth and Botticelli gives us some clues.
Good for watercolour and pastels alone? Paper and cardboard have also been used extensively for oil sketches, and more.
After European artists saw Hokusai’s print The Great Wave off Kanagawa, their own depictions became widespread, peaking in 1896.
Paintings from 1750 on didn’t show ‘Christian’ sibyls, but returned to their classical meaning. Then came Turner’s marvellous narrative landscapes.
Paintings of eight well-known folk tales from around the world, including Sinbad the sailor, Queen Wanda, Ivan Tsarevich, William Tell, and Hiawatha.
Some of the key paintings telling the story of the grisly death of the satyr Marsyas, who lost his musical contest against Apollo.
Hardly painted before 1800, there has since been a succession of brilliant paintings of this story. Its focus has changed, from the tension as Oedipus tries to answer the riddle, to the femme fatale.
Why are owls associated with wisdom and learning? Do they have more sinister meanings? Was Bosch that keen on owls?
The first American symbolist, his beautiful paintings are rich in symbols and stories, and decorate the Library of Congress.