Flying Too Close to the Sun

Myths in Art from Classical to Contemporary
Introduced by James Cahill
Published by Phaidon

A sumptuous new book revealing how Classical mythology has inspired art over time. Published by Phaidon.

‘Wide-ranging in scope yet highly accessible, Cahill's dynamic study serves as a great introduction to mythology by way of art history and vice versa.’

  1. Publishers Weekly Online

Ancient tales of heroes, gods, monsters and fate not only exert a powerful grip on popular imagination, they have also been a wellspring of inspiration for artists over the millennia.

This is the first volume to unite myth-inspired artworks by ancient, modern, and contemporary artists. In its 12 themed chapters, Phaidon’s editors have selected over 200 artworks featuring the best-known Greek and Roman myths. The artworks are presented in juxtapositions of old and new, and include works ranging from paintings by great masters such as Botticelli and Caravaggio to works by popular contemporary artists like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor.

In addition, James Cahill, an expert on the influence of Classical antiquity on contemporary art, has contributed an introduction. He explains how classical mythology has been an enduring source of inspiration for artists over the past 2,500 years, as well as influencing other forms of culture, including music, literature and movies – from Arcade Fire’s songs, to Margaret Atwood’s novels and films by Woody Allen and the Coen brothers.

‘Highlights the fascinating history of the relationship between myth and art. But as well as juxtaposing ancient and modern pieces, the book explores literary and art theory and provides an insight into the frames of interpretation that make myths, in their many cultural forms, so relevant to us today... But if Flying Too Close To The Sun shows us anything, it's that the power of myth lies in its limitless ability to provide us with whatever interpretation of humanity we might be searching for.’


264 pages
220 illustrations
290mm x 250mm
Published by Phaidon

Show More
The Folio Society Canada
© The Folio Society 2020