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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Mythological Figures in Art

A pictorial essay.

We have heard all the stories, from the classic Greek mythology to Norse mythology, fantastical creatures abound over all cultures. They seem to be enjoying a renewed popularity, with their appearances in movies and video games. A look back shows us they have been around for a long time. Please enjoy this pictorial essay of these magnificent, purely imaginary beasts and their gods. (Imaginary...I guess that depends on your beliefs.)

'The Triumph of Amphitrite' by Huges Taraval 1780. A sea nymph or nereid.

'Medusa' by Alice Pike Barney 1892. A gorgon.

'Sculpture of Zeus: Illustration for the book "Space of Euclid" 1932. The Greek god of Thunder.

Art from Japanese card game, circa early 19th century. A kitsune.

'Perseus and Andromeda' by Peter Paul Rubens 1622. A half-god, his wife and the winged horse, Pegasus.

'Painting of Unicorn' by Gustave Moreau 1885.

'The Dragon' by Kunisada II Utagawa, 1860.

'Playing in the waves' by Arnold Böcklin, 1883. Mermaids.

'Thor's Battle with the Jotnar' by Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872. Norse god of thunder.

'The mythical creature dragon' by Friedrich Jahann Justin Bertuch, 1806.

'Pegasus and the Muses' by Girolamo Romanio, 1540's.

Kitsune Art from Japan, 18th-19th century.

'Valkyrie' by Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1864.

'The Education of Achilles' by James Barry, 1772. A centaur.

Allegoric painting on the ceiling of Degodehaus in Lower Saxony, Germany, circa 17th century. A unicorn.

I hope the journey through these historic pictures inspires you to try your hand at painting a mythical figure, be it god or beast. All of these photos were borrowed from Wikimedia Commons and all are in the public domain, with the exception of the last photo which was given by the photographer for free use on Wikimedia Commons. I highly recommend a visit and a search there for artwork, it is amazing what you can see.

Photo Credits - Wikimedia Commons

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