• Perseus Releases Andromeda

    Artist:
    Rubens, Peter Paul (Pietro Pauolo). 1577-1640
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    99,5x139 cm

Rubens, Peter Paul (Pietro Pauolo). 1577-1640

Perseus Releases Andromeda

Flanders, circa 1622

In Perseus Releases Andromeda, Rubens used an episode from classical mythology to express his understanding of the world and human destiny. The scene shows the triumph of Perseus, the son of Danaë and Zeus, who has already accomplished the feats for which he is famed: the hero’s shield is decorated with the head of the defeated Gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turned all living things to stone, and he has overcome the sea monster to which the beautiful Andromeda was to be sacrificed. These symbols of evil overcome are placed in the centre of the picture as confirmation of Perseus’s valour. The narrow strip of seashore restricted by the cliff behind is completely filled with figures, especially on the right, where the shapes seem to pulsate, conveying the still persisting heat of battle. The mighty winged Pegasus, the flying Nike and cupids form a sort of train behind Perseus, whose figure with its bulging torso and fluttering cloak embodies a powerful surge of vital energy. The hero approaches Andromeda, touching her arm, while she, grateful and embarrassed, resplendent in her nakedness, lowers her eyes. Varying the manner in which he applied his paints, with dense layers in some places, watercolour-like translucent ones in others, alternating solid patches of local colour with areas where the tones are nuanced and neighbouring hues interact through reflexes, Rubens achieves an exceptional richness in the painted surface.

Title:

Perseus Releases Andromeda

Place:

Date:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

99,5x139 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1769; acquired from the Heinrich von Brühl collection, Dresden

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-461

Category:

Collection:

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