Last Sunday, while I was at the Legion of Honour to visit *The Cult of Beauty* Exhibit, I was thrilled to learn that Bernini's *Medusa* was still on display. *She* was scheduled to return to Rome a week before, but due to public demand, she stayed! (O wise SF people!) This afforded me the opportunity to see this extraordinanry sculpture.
She is made from Carrara Marble....and is displayed on a stand of pink marble.... alas...I could not find a photo with her atop the stand......it is truly otherwordly!
Gian Lorenzo Bernini created her sometime around 1630. According to the Greek myth, Medusa, a Gorgon with snakes for hair, turned anyone to stone who gazed on her. Although she has a beautiful face, she seems to realize her own fatality and in this climactic moment, reveals her own pain and anquish. Like many of Bernini's sculptures, this depicts the most dramatic and transitory moment. As I walked around the bust, I was impressed with Bernini's skill - and thought. Medusa's front part is already transformed into writhing snakes - but the back of her head still retains some hair.....this gives you the feeling you are witnessing her transformation as it is happening. Chillingly beautiful.
In Ovid's "Metamorphoses" and the mythology it drew upon, Medusa was the mortal one of three beautiful sisters. After Medusa trysted with Neptune in a temple sacred to Minerva, the goddess punished her by rendering her and her sisters monstrous, with snakes for hair and faces so terrible that they turned any onlooker to stone. Perseus, equipped by sympathetic deities, would later slay her and use the petrifying power of her severed head as a weapon.
That's your Greek History Lesson for March 1st! (Amanda, I thought of you when I saw this!)
Happy March everyone!
♥ Robin ♥