In its complexity, modern art can be intimidating and incomprehensible for some viewers. Without detailed knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology or Christian theology-once so vivid in the minds of both artists and viewers-some of the works of the Old Masters now seem meaningless, for the secret to understanding the masterpieces of art history often lies in a system rife with symbols, themes, and motifs that are frequently opaque to today’s viewers. Patrick de Rynck and Jon Thompson decipher the mysteries, using more than two hundred paintings as examples. Brief, succinct descriptions are accompanied by more than five hundred color pictures that illuminate the images and awaken interest in these and other works of art. An attractive overview of the most beautiful paintings from the Renaissance to the present day!