Art: The Deathless Ones

TOURISTS from the U.S., swarming through Italy this summer in greater numbers than ever, keep coming across ancient deities in Renaissance dress. Because U.S. culture has little indigenous pagan art—largely confined to Indian reservations and museums—Americans are often somewhat shocked to find pagan gods at ease in Christian churches and palaces. But the shock soon turns to delight, for Renaissance artists could make the gods seem as at home in church as children at a party, and use them for the greater glory of Christianity (see color pages).

Actually, the pagan gods died, as...

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