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World Myths & Legends in Art Art by Culture Art by Theme
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How To Use This Site


This collection of images brings together 26 works of art in the collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts inspired by mythology around the world. The rich variety of images makes it possible for teachers to address a wide range of study areas, including language arts, humanities, art, social and cultural studies, and world religions. You can click on the "Enlarge" link under each work of art to enlarge the image in a new window, and zoom in to see greater detail. The "Art by Theme" section will help you explore the relationships among the images. Have fun being creative with these materials!

Essays and Discussion Questions

General Thematic Questions and Discussion Points

  1. Mythology often addresses the theme of good conquering evil. How is this theme addressed in the stories in this collection of images? Who or what represents good in these stories? Who or what represents evil? Which works of art focus on this conflict? How?

  2. All the works of art in this collection of images were inspired by mythology. What else do they have in common? How are they different? You might choose two works of art from the category of Hero Myths, for example, and compare them in terms of media and technique, function, size, cultural origins, narrative, style, expressive quality, subject matter, or artistic intent.

    Brainteaser: Do these works of art illustrate myths? How? How is an illustration different from other works of art?

Keep in mind that these materials are written for you—the educator. They are not intended to be read by or to your students. Feel free to adapt the information to the level of your students' needs. You are the best judge of what will be a useful supplement to your curriculum. Each work of art has a corresponding essay containing:

  • Key points
  • The story that inspired the work of art
  • Background information including the history, cultural context and style of the work of art
  • Suggested discussion questions

All vocabulary words, in CAPITAL LETTERS, are defined in pop-up windows accessible by clicking on the word. All of the vocabulary words are also listed with their definitions in the Glossary.

Suggested discussion questions accompany each essay. Clicking once on the highlighted part of a question will reveal the answer; clicking on the same words again will hide the answer.

Try it: Click on these words for the answer.

Questions in the "Look" sections focus on what can be gleaned from direct observation, while questions in the "Think" sections ask students to make hypotheses and draw conclusions. The questions can be easily adapted for any age. In general, younger students and those with little experience in the discipline of art will find questions in the "Look" sections most interesting.

All of the images in World Myths and Legends in Art are also available in ArtsConnectEd, a collaboration between The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center providing online access to the collections and reference, archive, media, and curriculum resources of both institutions. The content of ArtsConnectEd is geared to educational use, and includes media (images, audio, video, software, etc.) and print information. Clicking on the "More Info" link under each work of art in World Myths and Legends in Art will open a new window in ArtsConnectEd, allowing you to explore the additional resources offered there.

Downloadable Curriculum
You can download a PDF file of the World Myths and Legends in Art materials by clicking on the menu item "Downloadable Curriculum." You'll need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to open the file (get Acrobat Reader). The table of contents to the left of the main pages (Bookmarks and Thumbnails) allows you to click to different sections of the curriculum, and the definitions for the vocabulary words in the text are available by clicking on the question mark icon. Please note that the images in the downloadable curriculum are not interactive (with pop-up details and annotations) as they are on the Web site.

World Myths and Legends in Art Tours at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
We hope that this collection of images will be useful as preparation for or follow-up to a visit to The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. If you would like to reserve a docent-led tour, please call the Tour Office at (612) 870-3140 at least one month in advance. Because April and May are the museum's busiest months, we encourage you to schedule tours at other times of the year.

Now, if you're ready, begin exploring World Mythology with the introduction: What is Myth?



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