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Drawing - Medusa


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1875 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Frederick Sandys, born 1829 - died 1904 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black and red chalks on greenish paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by George A. Macmillan

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 86, box R

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.

Physical description

A full-face representation of a winged head surrounded with curling tresses with writhing snakes emerging from the top of her head.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca.1875 (drawn)


Frederick Sandys, born 1829 - died 1904 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Black and red chalks on greenish paper

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 94.6 cm framed, Width: 73.8 cm framed, Height: 72.7 cm, Width: 54.6 cm, Depth: 5.2 cm framed

Descriptive line

Drawing in black and red chalks on greenish paper of the head of Medusa by Frederick Sandys (1829-1904), ca.1875.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Fagence Cooper, Suzanne, Pre Raphaelite Art in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, V&A Publications, 2003. 176p., ill. ISBN I 85177 393 2
Colin 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


Paper; Chalk



Subjects depicted



Drawings; Portraits; Myths & Legends; Drawings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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