'Every picture tells a story’ – but for many of us the subjects and themes of the great paintings of Western art are something of a mystery. The Gallery Companion unravels the legends behind many of the most popular and frequently painted figures and explains their symbolism, which is all too often overlooked or misunderstood.
What is the Judgment of Paris? Why does St Catherine have a wheel by her side, and St Jerome a lion? Who was crucified upside down?
Written in a lively and engaging style, The Gallery Companion includes a Classical section, detailing the characters from the myths and histories of ancient Greece and Rome, and a Biblical and Religious section, describing the figures from the Old and New Testaments as well as later saints.
The text supplies the background to the character, lists the most famous paintings that depict him or her, and details the events shown. Other facts, such as why that particular subject was in vogue, are also included, as well as variations and discrepancies between treatments of the same subject matter.
Drawing upon the art of the last 800 years, with descriptions of over 150 characters commonly represented in murals and on canvas, The Gallery Companion is a beautifully illustrated guide to many of the most important subjects in painting. It will be indispensable to all those seeking to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of Western art.