Perseus and Andromeda
Giuseppe Cesari, Italian, Perseus and Andromeda, ca. 1592, Oil on slate; 70.5 x 54.9 cm (27 3/4 x 21 5/8 inches), Anonymous gift 57.167
The story of Perseus and Andromeda, as told in the Roman poet Ovid’s (43 BCE — 18 CE) Metamorphoses, was a favorite of Cavaliere d’Arpino and his patrons. It offered enormous dramatic potential in the encounter between the captive Andromeda and her suitor Perseus, who, armed with the head of Medusa and mounted on a magical steed, vanquished a sea monster to win her. Although the artist completed numerous large-scale decorative commissions, he frequently exercised his draftsmanship in small compositions on smooth, hard surfaces. The Museum’s Perseus and Andromeda, considered to be the artist’s primary version, is painted on slate, a support that allows enamel-like rendering with oil paint. Variants of this image are in the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.