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Apollo was one of the gods who lived on Mount Olympus. He was the sun god, and the Romans believed that he rode his fiery chariot drawn by four horses across the sky each day. Here, one of the priestesses of a Roman temple of Apollo looks rapturously upwards towards the sun. Alma-Tadema changed this picture extensively from his first design. The lines of a room now show through the thin paint of the walls to the left and right of the figure, and what is probably a marble bench is still visible to the immediate left of the figure.

September 2001