Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini (1554)

Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1554)

“Perseus with the Head of Medusa” is a bronze sculpture created by the Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini in 1554. The sculpture depicts the ancient Greek mythological hero Perseus holding the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa in his left hand while brandishing a sword in his right.

The sculpture is considered a masterpiece of Mannerist sculpture, and its dynamic composition and attention to detail demonstrate Cellini’s technical mastery of the medium.

The sculpture was commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and it is currently on display at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. The sculpture is notable for its dramatic depiction of Perseus in action, with his swirling cloak and twisted pose conveying a sense of movement and energy. The sculpture also features intricate details, such as the snakes on Medusa’s head and the feathers on Perseus’s helmet, which demonstrate Cellini’s skill as a metalworker.

According to the myths, the Greek hero Perseus, who is the son of the Greek god Zeus and the mortal woman Danaë, was aided in his adventure by some gifts from deities like Athena and Hermes. For example, he received a polished shield from Athena, a sword from Hermes, and winged sandals from the god of the sea.