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Gods and Heroes in Art

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Gods and Heroes in Art
By Lucia Impelluso. Edited by Stefano Zuffi. Translated by Thomas Michael Hartmann. (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2003. Pg. 384. 400 color plates.) ISBN: 0-89236-702-4.

Reviewed by Herbert White - July 21, 2003

As expected, classical artists where influenced by their religious and mythological beliefs. This influence is still felt today. Greek and Roman myth and mythology still exerts an considerable influence on western art. The gods and heroes that peopled the classical world are still being depicted in modern works of art.

Gods and Heroes in Art, by Lucia Impelluso and translated into English by Thomas Michael Hartmann, provides museum goers with a handy reference guide to the gods and heroes commonly found in western masterpieces.

Gods and Heroes in Art is part of a new series of books being published by the J. Paul Getty Museum. This series strives to provide museum goers with easily accessible information about the 5 W's of fine art. For example, this books explain who's in the paintings, what they depict, where they were painted, why they were painted, and when they were painted. These books measure 5 1/4 inches by 7 3/4 inches, making them handy to carry with you to the museum. In addition there are 400 colored plates in this book, with detailed commentary on each picture.

The entries in this reference guide are organized into four main thematic sections: The entries within each category are organized alphabetically, and each entry provides a biographical synopsis, and stories about each god or hero. The entries also provide each beings characteristics and attributes, plus their mythic origins. Each entry is accompanied by colored plates of paintings and artwork that depict the god or hero in question. The artwork is annotated with details concerning the works title and author, as well as commentary on the most important aspects of the paintings.

This book is perfect, not only for learning about the gods and heroes depicted in Western Art, but also as a reference guide to these mythological beings in general. Not only is this book suitable for the general museum goer, but it will also serve as a handy reference for students and art lovers of all ages.

Other books in this series include:
Related Reviews:

Gospel Figures in Art, By Stefano Zuffi.
A guidebook to the artistic masterpieces depicting events, figures, and teachings of the Christian Church surrounding the life of Jesus that are found in the Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels.

Nature and Its Symbols, by Lucia Impelluso.
The fifth book in the Guide to Imagery series, this book looks at the symbolism of various plants and animals found in Medieval and Renaissance paintings and tapestries.

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