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Creatures from myths, fables, history and literature play a significant part in art. In Western art they include the many strange beings of Greek mythology: the one-eyed giant cyclops, the snake-headed Medusa, the half-man and half-horse centaurs. Christianity’s devils and demons take varied forms, some seductive and some terrifying, as in the well-known paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. The legend of Saint George and the Dragon was a popular subject.

Art was able to bring to life the imagination of visionary artists of the Romantic period like William Blake and Henry Fuseli, and to bring relief to disturbed minds such a Richard Dadd’s. The late nineteenth-century Symbolist movement revived an interest in imagined and fantastical creatures, bringing together poetry and painting.