Take the tragedy of Icarus:
According to Greek mythology, skilled inventor Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned in Crete. To escape, Daedalus made them wings from bird feathers, held together with wax. The plan would have worked, except that Icarus flew too close to the sun, so the wax on his wings melted, and he plunged to his death.
In the ancient world, and through the Middle Ages, the story was used to illustrate the folly of over-confidence, trying to do more than you are able. But more recent artists and writers have a different take: strive to be all that you can. You may fail, but at least you were able to fly.
Or they just like to portray a muscular nude Athenian youth, before, during, or after his flight.
Daedalus and Icarus (1645), by French painter Charles LeBrun, shows the moment when Daedalus rouses Icarus to try on his wings.
The top photo, of course, is from fantasy artist Boris Vallejo.
William Carlos Williams wrote a poem about it:
a splash quite unnoticed