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Narrative art

One major function of visual art is the telling of stories.

Here you can read tales from the Classical world, that are perhaps less well known today than they once were: how the Greek hero Peleus' forcibly seduced the nymph Thetis, how the goddess of love Venus was injured by one of her son's arrows, and what happened when the messenger of the gods, Hermes, fell in love with the Athenian virgin Herse.

Artists have depicted the stories of the New Testament since the early centuries of the Church: see here Guercino's poignant depiction of the Betrayal of Christ and a brutal account of the Christ's last journey to Calvary by two Spanish brothers.

There are smaller scale, more personal narratives too: share in the sorrow of a young family forced to leave home in Ford Maddox Brown's Last of England, and feel for a girl who faces losing more than her money at the gambling tables in Alfred Elmore's social melodrama, On the Brink.

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