Great paintings, filled with complex themes and symbols, can be intimidating. Here, Patrick De Rynck and Jon Thompson explore more than 300 famous works spanning the Middle Ages to the late 20th century, unlocking each work's meaning. Today's art lovers lack the intimate knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology, folklore, and Christian theology that was so well-known to medieval and Renaissance artists and their public. Likewise, modern and contemporary art can baffle even sophisticated viewers. With brief yet illuminating explanations and more than 600 color reproductions - including many close-up details - of works by artists from Giotto, Botticelli, El Greco, Rubens, and Vermeer to Bonnard, Degas, Whistler, Van Gogh, Picasso, Hopper, Warhol, and Basquiat, this book provides the means to interpret and better enjoy these and many other works of art.