Testa di Medusa (c.1801)

Canova, Antonio (1757-1822)

Testa di Medusa (Head of Medusa)
Plaster, h. 31 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova dominated Rome’s artistic scene at the turn of the 19th century. This plaster is a partial model for his large-scale marble statue Perseus Holding the Head of Medusa. According to Greek mythology, Medusa was a serpent-haired creature called a Gorgon whose gaze turned anyone who beheld her into stone. Perseus killed Medusa as she slept by using a mirrored shield to approach her and sever her head, which he continued to carry as a weapon, using it to petrify his enemies. Here, Canova depicted Medusa’s decapitated head, with its blank eyes, slack mouth, and cheeks caressed by snakes. (AIC)

This is a study for:

Canova, Antonio (1757-1822)
Perseo con la testa della Medusa
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York