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Perseus Rescuing Andromeda (oil on canvas, 1513, Uffizi)

The ascetic & eccentric master artist Piero di Cosimo finished this painting of Perseus rescuing Andromeda in 1513.  It is one of my very favorite paintings.  Piero combined wild inventiveness with subtle refined craftsmanship to obtain an absolutely stunning drama.  Just look at the otherworldy musical instruments which the spectators are playing as the beast meets his demise!  The painting speaks for itself, but, as a little bonus, here is what art biographer Giorgio Vasari said about the work:

Piero painted, for the elder Filippo Strozzi, a picture with little figures of Perseus delivering Andromeda from the Monster, in which are some very beautiful things. It is now in the house of Signor Sforza Almeni, First Chamberlain to Duke Cosimo, having been presented to him by Messer Giovanni Battista, the son of Lorenzo Strozzi, who knew how much that nobleman delighted in painting and sculpture; and he holds it in great account, for Piero never made a more lovely or more highly finished picture than this one, seeing that it is not possible to find a more bizarre or more fantastic sea-monster than that which Piero imagined and painted, or a fiercer attitude than that of Perseus, who is raising his sword in the air to smite the beast. In it, trembling between fear and hope, Andromeda is seen bound, most beautiful in countenance ; and in the foreground are many people in various strange costumes, playing instruments and singing; among whom are some heads, smiling and rejoicing at seeing the deliverance of Andromeda, that are divine. The landscape is very beautiful, and the coloring sweet and full of grace. In short, with regard to the harmony and gradation of the colors, he executed this work with the greatest possible diligence.


Ye Olde Ferrebeekeeper Archives

June 2010