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“Perseus and Andromeda” by Titian

Perseo y Andrómeda, por Tiziano

“Perseus and Andromeda” by Titian dramatically depict the Greek mythological story of Andromeda. Perseus is portrayed attacking the sea monster, who turns to attack the hero, while Andromeda’s white body is contrasted against the dark undercliff and portrayed as pure innocence.

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. Queen Cassiopeia was beautiful, but the vain, and hers hubris led her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the sea nymphs The sea nymphs were the daughters of Poseidon, the god of the sea and when the nymphs heard of her claims, they protested to their father. In retaliated Poseidon calling up a sea monster to wreak havoc on Ethiopia placing the kingdom at risk. In response, the Queen, together with the King, decided to sacrifice her daughter, Princess Andromeda, to the monster.

Andromeda was chained to a coastal rock as an offering to the monster. Fortunately, Perseus was travelling home on his winged horse, Pegasus, after battling with Medusa. He rescued Andromeda by killing the beast. The couple fell in love, but the Princess was already betrothed to Phineus. Perseus argued with Phineus at the wedding, but the fight was drawn to a conclusion when Phineus was turned to stone after Perseus brandished the head of Medusa.

Titian was the most important painter of the 16th-century Venetian school. So much so that he was recognised by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars”, recalling the famous final line of Dante’s Paradiso. Titian was one of the most accomplished painters, adept with portraits, landscape, and mythological and religious subjects. His application and use of colour, his vivid, luminous tints, his brushwork and subtlety of tone had a profound influence on Western art.

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Essential Facts:

  • Title:                Perseus and Andromeda
  • Artist:              Titian
  • Created:          1556
  • Media:             Oil paint
  • Dimensions:    175 × 189.5 cm (68.9 × 74.6 in)
  • Museum:         Wallace Collection

Essential Facts about the Artist:

  • Name:                Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio
  • Known as:         Titian
  • Born:                  c. 1488-1490 – Pieve di Cadore, Republic of Venice
  • Died:                   1576 (aged about 88) – Venice, Italy
  • Notable Works:
    • A Man with a Quilted Sleeve
    • Bacchus and Ariadne

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates

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Photo Credit:1)Titian [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons