This Monday morning I was lucky enough to get to attend part three of a lecture series by Aneta Georgievska-Shine. The series has been focusing on how Renaissance and Baroque art has been inspired by ancient mythology, and today the topic of discussion was “Trials of Love”. In a relaxed but learning conducive environment, Aneta discussed the complex love of Venus and Mars, Narcissus’s intense love of himself to the point of destruction, and the tale of Bacchus, who was born from his father’s thigh. Also discussed were themes such as the mystery of love and strife, and the curse of love. Behind each story is a rich history full of scandal and symbolism; themes and meanings behind paintings such as The Birth of Venus by Botticelli or Caravaggio’s Bacchus are brought forth that are not obvious to the eye. When pursuing knowledge of art history, it is extremely advantageous to attend a lecture taught by a real art historian. By doing so, an experience and insight that a textbook or the internet could never achieve is gained. I would urge anyone who is interested to attend the final part of the lecture series, titled “Competitions of Gods and Mortals” and to look out for any upcoming lectures that the Smithsonian Associates offer. To learn more details, visit http://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/tickets/reserve.aspx?performanceNumber=226631.