Thursday, January 16, 2014


MINOTAURS, chimeras, gorgons, the Sphinx, harpies, sirens, satyrs, centaurs, Pegasus, Scylla ... these are but a few of the monsters and creatures that populate your favorite myths.

From the Bronze Age to Ancient Rome, these horrifying characters that tormented land and sea graced the pages of famous literature, becoming icons of storytelling. 

But just as writers were enamored with the terrifying lore of Medusa and the Hydra of Lerna, so too were artists.

Cue "Monsters: Fantastic Creatures of Fear and Myth" at the National Roman Museum in Italy, a celebration of all things monstrous in art. Even the exterior of the museum is scary (image above).

The exhibition, which runs now through June 1st, 2014, covers 100 works from 40 museums around the world, bringing together frescoes, statues, vases and more, all adorned with the startling faces of history's best fictional (and often villainous) creatures. 

Organized in a clever maze similar to the Minotaur's labyrinth, the works reveal the origins of characters like Pegasus or the griffin, figures that serve as the basis for many of Hollywood's present day monsters.

"Monsters are part of the myths of every culture, every civilization," Elisabetta Setari, co-curator of the exhibition, explained to Art Daily. "They have characterized our civilization from the dawn of time until now."

Along with the array of artifacts on display, the museum recruited visual effects and makeup experts Scott Ross and Shane Mahan to provide commentary on the birth of movie monsters, linking them to their ancient counterparts. 

Furthermore, laser projections courtesy of Hyperreality depict epic battles between heroes and foes and are on view in the inner courtyard of the museum for the entire duration of the exhibition.

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