Ajax and Cassandra, painting by Solomon J Solomon
Much of the inspiration for this large epic work comes from the Rape of Cassandra featured in Virgil's Aeneid. Having spurned Apollo's advances, Cassandra is punished to never have her prophecies believed. This leads the Trojans to reject her warning that Troy is in imminent danger from the Greeks. When Troy falls, Cassandra flees to the Temple of Athena where she encounters Ajax. He is later killed by Athena and the sea god Poseidon for his crime.
This painting is arguably the most ambitious and grandest acquisition made by the Art Gallery of Ballarat in the first years of its existence. This iconic painting has influenced many Australian artists, including the painter Norman Lindsay who first saw it as a boy when visiting the gallery with his grandfather.