Work of Arts

Greek and Roman artists conveyed narrative stories in the static forms of pottery painting and sculpture to communicate religious, political, and cultural realities. Later, artists of the European Renaissance, inspired by the revival of classical culture, reused the myths of the Greeks and Romans to communicate the religious, political, and cultural realities of their times. Artists today still use Greek and Roman myths to communicate contemporary ideas through a variety of media.

The student will be required to make a virtual trip to at least five major museums in at least three countries and identify five (5) works of Greco-Roman art, ten (10) works of European / American art, and two (2) works of Modern / Contemporary art based on classical myths. The student should discuss how the myths used in their European and contemporary examples have been changed and adapted to new uses–if any.¬† The paper will be worth fifty (50) points. The due date for the paper is listed on the Calendar.

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Each paragraph (=discussion of a work of art) should include:

  • The title of the work
  • The name of the artist
  • The genre of the work (i.e. painting, sculpture, etc.)
  • The date of the work
  • The Greco-Roman myth from which the subject matter of the work of art is drawn (e.g. the story of Pygmalion as told by Ovid in Metamorphoses 243-297).
  • A small image of the work of art (right-mouse click on the image, choose Save As, and save to your desktop). Be sure to edit the image with an photo editing program to reduce the image to c. 300 x 200 pixels before importing into your paper. This will make sure you don’t have too large of a file to upload to the Virtual Museum paper Drop Box.
  • The URL of the museum where the work of art is displayed (domain name only; for example,

Each work of art should include a description–in the student’s own words–of the subject matter of the work of art in terms of the myth from which it was inspired. The ¬†European / American and Modern / Contemporary works of art should include a discussion on how the ancient myth has been transformed (if at all) by the artist. The student should look closely at the work of art and ask the following questions: “How faithful to the original classical myth is this later rendering?” “What has been added or deleted from the original story, and why?” “What is the content (meaning) of this work of art, and is it different than the meaning of the Greco-Roman myth?”

NOTE: Greco-Roman is defined as art created by the Greeks and Romans from c. 850 BCE (=BC) to c. 350 CE (=AD). European / American is defined as art created in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, England and America from the Italian Renaissance to the end of WWII, c. 1400 CE to c. 1945 CE. Modern / Contemporary is defined as art created since WWII to the present day, 1946+.

Be sure to write an introduction and conclusion to your paper. Do not just mechanically go from one work of art to another. Make your paper interesting. Please use double spacing and one inch margins. Also, please observe the correct grammatical and technical forms of paper writing in completing this assignment. Type your name, class, and date in the upper left-hand corner. Then double-space centered for your title (e.g., Classical Mythology as Artistic Muse–my example, so don’t steal it). Double space after your title and begin the text of your paper. A cover page is not necessary.

This assignment is worth fifty (50) points. This is not a formal paper. No external documentation is necessary. I am interested in your ability to identify works of art based on classical myths and how well you can articulate your ideas. The due date of this assignment is listed in the Dropbox, in the Writing Assignments module in Content, and on the Calendar. Your paper must be at least five (5) full pages of text in length, minus images (c.1500 words), double-spaced, one-inch margins, and 12 point Arial font.


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