The Painted Text: Picturing Narrative in European Art

April 1 – September 14, 2003

From the heroic tales of the Greeks to the lyric poetry of Ovid, the stories of the ancients were among the most important sources and inspirations for European artists of the early modern period.

Beginning in the Renaissance, painters, and sculptors turned with increasing frequency to ancient myths and epic narratives that offered both a wealth of intriguing subjects and the formidable challenge of transforming stories into compelling images. Featuring painting, sculpture, and works on paper from the Smart Museum's permanent collection as well as select loans, The Painted Text juxtaposed images from the 16th to 19th centuries with their literary sources in order to investigate how artists interpreted and transformed the stories that inspired them.