Paintings of the contest between Oedipus and the Sphinx who cursed Thebes represent a slice of Sophocles 429BC play of Oedipus Rex. Encountering the Sphinx on route to Thebes, Oedipus responds to her riddle:
"What creature goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening?"
with the correct answer:
"Man, who crawls on all four as an infant, walks upright on two feet as an adult and walks with the aid of a third leg, a cane, as an old person."
The Sphinx is so angry that she throws herself onto the rocks and dies amidst the bones of her past victims, Oedipus escapes being eaten and goes on to experience new adventures.
The paintings pictured on the magnets are the work of three different French artists: