View Fullscreen

Roy Lichtenstein, Laocoön, 1988, oil and magna on canvas, 304.8 x 259.1 cm, private collection

Laocoön is a classical hero who appears in the story of the Trojan War.  At the end of the war, when the Greeks left the Trojan Horse, Laocoön, a priest, is wary of the gift and suggests destroying it.  As a punishment for his lack of faith (though justified), two snakes emerge from the sea and begin to strangle his sons, and while trying to free them, Laocoön is killed as well.  The Trojans see this as divine proof of Laocoön's foolishness, and bring the horse into the city walls, which leads to Troy's fall.