Lunar mystique: How the moon has inspired art and culture

On Friday night, sky gazers the world over will be looking out for a very special lunar eclipse, or ‘blood moon’ — the longest this century — as a glowing planet Mars simultaneously comes closest to the earth for 15 years.

As the earth casts its shadow over the moon — and refracted sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere to give the celestial body a rich reddish hue — Mars will shine brighter than Jupiter as it comes to within a mere 60 million kilometers of earth.   

Read more: Longest ‘blood moon’ of century coincides with chance to see Mars at nearest

But the moon itself has always been a magnet for people, and for artists who from the Saxons to Ai Weiwei have tried to articulate its mysterious, seductive power.

Click through the picture gallery above to explore some of the great lunar-inspired art and culture across the ages.