Photo by Erich Lessing

With his back almost impossibly arched, a young man vaults over a large, elegant bull, in this 15th-century B.C. fresco from the palace at Knossos. Bull-jumping is common in Minoan art and may have had some religious connotation. Like so many frescoes from Bronze Age Crete, this one is characterized by the Minoans’ graceful naturalistic style.