Photo by Nimatallah/Art Resource, NY.

Known as “La Parisienne,” this charming and graceful fresco fragment, from the palace of Knossos on Crete, is an icon of Minoan art. Colorful, naturalistic and elegant frescoes decorated the palaces built by the Minoans, the Bronze Age inhabitants of Crete. In the three articles on the Minoans in this issue, novelist Barry Unsworth, archaeologist James D. Muhly and classicist Barry B. Powell explore the sophisticated culture of Europe’s oldest civilization.