Medusa

Drawing
ca.1875 (drawn)
Medusa thumbnail 1
Medusa thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the three fearsome sisters, the Gorgons, whose appearance was so terrible that anyone who looked upon them was instantly turned to stone. Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who looked at her reflection in his shield. But the severed head retained its literally petrifying power. Sandys, renowned for his drawings of women with flowing hair, here makes the link between the dangerous sexuality of the femme fatale and her hair, which traps the unwary male.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Black and red chalks on greenish paper
Brief Description
Drawing in black and red chalks on greenish paper of the head of Medusa by Frederick Sandys (1829-1904), ca.1875.
Physical Description
A full-face representation of a winged head surrounded with curling tresses with writhing snakes emerging from the top of her head.
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 94.6cm
  • Framed width: 73.8cm
  • Height: 72.7cm
  • Width: 54.6cm
  • Framed depth: 5.2cm
Marks and Inscriptions
(Signed)
Credit line
Given by George A. Macmillan
Subjects depicted
Summary
According to Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the three fearsome sisters, the Gorgons, whose appearance was so terrible that anyone who looked upon them was instantly turned to stone. Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who looked at her reflection in his shield. But the severed head retained its literally petrifying power. Sandys, renowned for his drawings of women with flowing hair, here makes the link between the dangerous sexuality of the femme fatale and her hair, which traps the unwary male.
Bibliographic References
  • Fagence Cooper, Suzanne, Pre Raphaelite Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, V&A Publications, 2003. 176p., ill. ISBN I 85177 393 2
  • 284Colin Cruise Pre-Raphaelite Drawing London: Thames & Hudson, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7093-0264-3
  • Owens, Susan, The Art of Drawing British Masters And Methods Since 1600, V&A Publishing, London, 2013, p. 139, fig. 113
Collection
Accession Number
P.18-1909

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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