Medusa inspired art on show


This is a music video of British band UB40, playing Madam Medusa.

From news agency ANSA in Italy:

Rare Medusas on show in Florence

City hosts two of best-known depictions of mythical figure

Florence, December 24 – Art lovers visiting Florence are in for a special treat over the holidays, with an annual exhibition of precious works usually kept in storage. This year’s event focuses on Medusa, exploring the portrayal of the snake-haired gorgon through centuries of art.

The exhibit features 40 artworks, including ceramics, drawings, paintings and jewellery, with a number of gems usually stored in Florence’s Archaeological Museum. In addition, it will feature several different editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy, with plates of Medusa who appears in Canto IX of the Inferno. A volume of Ovid’s Metamorphoses recounting the Roman poet’s version of the Medusa myth is also on display. However, the focal point of the event will be a painting by an unknown Flemish painter, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci for over a century.

Completed around 1600, it shows a disturbingly realistic decapitated head, lying on the ground in a nest of writhing snakes, as toads and bats look on.

The mistaken attribution was the result of a description by 16th-century writer Giorgio Vasari, which a later biographer, Luigi Lanzi, seized upon while searching for ‘new’ Leonardo paintings in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. The painting was considered by some as one of Leonardo’s greatest works and it was only in the 20th century that art historians conclusively debunked the attribution. …

In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of three gorgons able to turn people to stone by looking at them. She was beheaded by Perseus, who managed to kill her by looking in a mirror and who later gave her head to Athena to place on her shield. In Ancient Greek times, a stylised Medusa head was commonly used on homes and temples to avert evil.

Medusa has fascinated countless artists since then, appearing in works by Peter Paul Rubens, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The tragic mythical figure exerts a particularly strong pull in Florence, which is home to two of the best-known depictions of Medusa. Benvenuto Cellini’s statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa in Piazza della Signoria has become one of the Tuscan city’s emblematic images.

A recently restored painting by Caravaggio, completed in 1600 and now on permanent display in the Uffizi, offers a far more sinister interpretation of Medusa, open-mouthed and screaming in agony. The Medusa exhibition is on show until January 31 in the Uffizi.

Probably missing in this exhibition are comparisons of Medusa to British politician Margaret Thatcher.

Here are the lyrics of Madam Medusa, on Margaret Thatcher, by British band UB40:

Madam Medusa

From the land of shadows
Comes a dreadful sight
Lady with the marble smile
Spirit of the night
See the scourge of innocence
Swinging in her hand
Hear the silent suffering
That echoes through the land

From the tombs of ignorance
Of hate and greed and lies
Through the smoke of sacrifice
Watch her figure rise
The sick the poor the old
Basking in her radiance
Men of blood and gold

In her bloody footsteps
Speculators prance
Men of dreams are praying
For that second chance
Round her vacant features
Gilded serpents dance
Her tree of evil knowledge
Sprouts a special branch

Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa
Madam Medusa

Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
Knock her right down
And then she bounce right back
She gone off her head
We`ve got to shoot her dead
She gone off her head
We`ve got to shoot her dead
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Run for your life before she eat you alive
Move out of the way cos`s you`re blocking out the day
Move out of the way cos`s you`re blocking out the day

6 thoughts on “Medusa inspired art on show

  1. Pingback: USA bans Celtic music in Cuba | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  3. An amazing post!… I might add a trackback from my post on the Gorgons… I heard that one of Annie Lennox´s album is called Medusa… Furthermore, I am thinking of all the recreations as time goes by!… It is quite stunning, indeed!. Thanks for sharing. All my best wishes. Aquileana😀

    • Hi, thanks for the trackback!

      In ancient Greece, there was variety in representations of Medusa. Sometimes as abhorrent, sometimes as beautiful (though still with venomous snakes as hair).

  4. Pingback: ►Greek Mythology: “The Gorgons”.- | La Audacia de Aquiles

  5. Pingback: Painter Leonardo da Vinci, new film, review | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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