Malcolm Bull, The Mirror of the Gods: Classical Mythology in Renaissance Art

... I love the intro:

In the winter of 1406 enough snow fell on the city of Florence for locals to build a 20ft snowman in the shape of the mythological demigod Hercules - even in sport Florentines took their creative subject-matter from antiquity, adapting and moulding it to suit the occasion. At Ferrara the labours of heroic Hercules made another ephemeral appearance on three large pastries presented to Ercole [Hercules] d'Este's bride Eleonora of Aragon during an overnight stop on her journey to the wedding in 1473. In the Renaissance, Malcolm Bull tells us, mythological figures could crop up decoratively almost anywhere - on the most transient of items as well as in the more lasting form of high-art paintings and statuary.