Greek Roman mythology imageThe myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans are some of the most exciting stories ever told. From Theseus outwitting the Minotaur to Odysseus escaping the one-eyed cyclops, and the innumerable stories of love involving the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, as well as an array of over-the-top superheroes, these tales are the foundation stone on which Western civilization was built. Because of that it is no surprise to learn they have been loved by artists from the moment they were first told until the present day. And because of this we can use visual art to learn these ancient stories and at the same time expand our appreciation and enjoyment of some of the greatest paintings and sculptures ever made.

This course will comprise eighteen evening sessions held in the classroom at Imperial College, South Kensington. During the course students will also have the opportunity to attend one Saturday half-day session at a major museum in London, to discuss with their tutor the use of mythology in works of art, using of actual art objects.

The course comprises 18 classroom sessions at Imperial College and two Saturday late morning visits to a major London art museum in the company of the tutor. Shown below is a week-by-week course outline. No previous knowledge of art or ancient culture or mythology is needed to join.

Course Timetable

Course weekDateTopicSession type
Week 1 Tue Oct 16th The Greeks, The Gods and Classicism Classroom session 1
Week 2 Tue Oct 23rd The Olympians Classroom session 2
Week 3 Tue Oct 30th The Nude Classroom session 3
Week 4 Tue Nov 6th NO CLASS  
Week 5 Tue Nov 13th The Iconography of Venus, Cupid & Mars Classroom session 4
Week 6 Tue Nov 20th The Renaissance and the Philosophy of Classicism Classroom session 5
Week 7 Tue Nov 27th Hercules and the Twelve Labours Classroom session 6
Week 8 Tue Dec 4th The Fight between the Lapiths and the Centaurs Classroom session 7
Week 9 Tue Dec 11th Theseus and the Minotaur - Bacchus & Ariadne Classroom session 8
-------- --------  *** Christmas break **** --------
Week 10 Tue Jan 8th NO CLASS  
Week 11 Tue Jan 15th NO CLASS  
  Sat Jan 19th British Museum | Meeting place is by the Great Court steps at 10:30 Museum visit 1
Week 12 Tue Jan 22nd NO CLASS  
  Thu Jan 24th Prometheus & Pandora Classroom session 9
Week 13 Tue Jan 29th Rape: Ganymede, Io, Europa – Leda and the Swan Classroom session 10
Week 14 Tue Feb 5th Cupid & Psyche - Diana & Actaeon Classroom session 11
Week 15 Tue Feb 12th Odysseus, Penelope and Her Suitors Classroom session 12
Week 16 Tue Feb 19th Perseus & Medusa Classroom session 13
Week 17 Tue Feb 26th Apollo & Daphne - Orpheus & Eurydice Classroom session 14
Week 18 Tue Mar 5th From Renaissance to Baroque Classroom session 15
Week 19 Tue Mar 12th French Painting & Classical Symbolism Classroom session 16
Week 20 Tue Mar 19th Classicism in Britain & Angelica Kauffman Classroom session 17
Week 21 Tue Mar 26th The Pre-Raphaelites: Myth & Legend Classroom session 18
  Sat Mar 30th National Gallery | Meeting place is by the Getty Entrance, East Wing Atrium, opposite the shop at 10:30 Museum visit 2
Programme schedule

 This programme may be subject to minor modification.

About the tutor

Mr Leslie Primo is an Art Historian, Television Presenter, and Freelance Lecturer. More information about the tutor’s work, interests and background can be found here:

Twitter: artfirstprimo      Blog: artfirstprimo

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Mr Leslie Primo,

Imperial College undergraduates and postgraduates may, if they wish, acquire 2 ECTS credits after successfully completing their Evening Class. To qualify, a student must attend the classes regularly and pass a test at the end of the second term. In late January, students will be invited to apply to take the test.

Please carefully review the Programme TimetableTerm Dates and Fees & Enrolment information.