From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-This stunning book presents full-page reproductions of, or details of, 19 splendid paintings inspired by classical myths, with the relevant stories retold in a serious and captivating vein. Gods and humans are on nearly equal footing here: Arachne, for instance, is boldly defiant rather than the hapless victim of Athene (or of her own pride). Nor is the language dumbed down: Arachne, in her eventual shape of a spider, is referred to as "a thing of loathing." The death of Actaeon, a hunter who changed into a hunted stag, is described, not gruesomely, but in all its emotional horror. Although most of the tales are drawn from Ovid, the collection ends with the stories of the beginning of the Trojan War and the return of Odysseus. Some omissions will be lamented: Demeter and Persephone, and Cupid and Psyche. A Greek/Roman name list; useful family trees; and an informative appendix that identifies the title, artist, medium, and museum location of the artworks are included. Most are by Titian, Rembrandt, Raphael, or their ilk, though two paintings of Orpheus by Rolandt Savery may be less well known. The pairing of masterpieces and stories is not a new idea, but it has seldom been better realized than in this gorgeous book.Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6^-8. The trials and tribulations of the gods and goddesses, and especially of the mortals who crossed them, have long been a rich source of material for the world's painters. This book pairs 15 Greek and Roman myths with paintings from the great museums of the world that illustrate the stories. Barber tells each story with drama and lyricism, mixing Greek and Roman names freely, using whichever seems most familiar. Oddly, the appended "Family Tree of Greek Gods" puts the Roman names first, adding the Greek names in parentheses. An index of paintings and artists shows each artwork reduced in size and identifies the museum in which it can be found. Susan Dove Lempke