Alexandre Cabanel, a professor of painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, depicts the Swedish soprano Christine Nilsson as Pandora, from the Greek myth of a woman whose curiosity was tempted into opening a forbidden box, releasing the wickedness that plagues humanity.
The Pandora myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world. According to this, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of humanity. Hesiod’s interpretation of Pandora’s story, which is widely considered as misogynous, went on to influence both Jewish and Christian theology and so perpetuated her bad reputation into the Renaissance. Later poets, dramatists, painters and sculptors made her their subject and over the course of five centuries contributed new insights into her motives and significance.