This Oklahoma City Museum of Art exhibition features works on paper from the sixteenth through the twentieth century. Some recount famous myths, others more obscure stories. In some the mythological tale takes a backseat, with the focus primarily on the human form or the landscape setting. All of the works, however, reinforce the enduring power of Classical mythology.
Theseus and the Minotaur, Narcissus and Echo, the Judgment of Paris: these may be stories you know, or names you have heard. For millennia, Classical mythology has been a shared language through which artists can tells tales of heroism, love, vengeance, and more. From the frescoes of ancient Rome through the art of today, myths have served as an eternal source of inspiration.
Renaissance painters and printmakers used ancient myths as a vehicle for depicting the nude form in a tasteful and acceptable manner. Similarly, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when landscape was only just emerging as a distinct genre, artists used stories from the Classical world as a model in which to create vast landscapes, with only the smallest of figures. Continuing into modern times, mythological tales have been used by artists as a form of satire or as a reflection on contemporary society.