The enjoyment of a narrative painting (that is to say a painting that tells a story) is greatly enhanced by knowledge of the story that it tells. Originally painters could expect their public to recognize the subjects of their narrative paintings. However, over the years people have become less familiar with the narrative sources used (the Greek and Roman myths and legends, the Bible, medieval lives of the saints, European history, and so on) and it has therefore become necessary to explain the stories behind the images.;This dictionary, based on the National Gallery collection in London, is a key to narrative painting. Not only does it relate the stories that inspired the paintings, it also shows how different painters treated the same subject. It lists all the narrative paintings alphabetically by title and subject with cross-referencing to make sure that the main entries are fully accessible and that entries with various alternative titles can easily be found. By using this dictionary, the reader should gain a much wider understanding of the pictures themselves, and should also broaden his or her knowledge of the background of European culture.