About this artwork
Fuseli’s unfinished painting depicts the ancient Greek hero Perseus, son of Zeus, a demigod who slew Medusa, the snake-haired Gorgon whose glance turned men to stone. On the ground lies the decapitated body of Medusa, above which the airborne Perseus flees with her head, which retained its deadly power. Medusa’s two sisters, at right, unsuccessfully attempt to stop Perseus.
The painting’s source was the ancient Greek poet Hesiod’s the Shield of Heracles (translated into English in 1815), an imagined description in verse of the scenes found on Heracles’s beautifully crafted shield, including Perseus slaying Medusa.
Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Henry Fuseli
- Perseus Starting from the Cave of the Gorgons
- Oil and oil wash, over graphite and with touches of pen and black ink, on tan laid paper, laid down on off-white Japanese paper
- 552 x 676 mm
- The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection