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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century


After Charles Le Brun
French, 1619–1690

Fontaine de Persèe et d’Andromede
(Fountain of Perseus and Andromeda) from Recueil de divers Desseins de Fontaines et de Frises Maritimes
(A Collection of Designs for Fountains and Maritime Frieze Sculptures)

Engraving, about 1680
Museum Purchase, 1967.128m

This was one of a group of fountains Le Brun designed for Paris. It shows the Greek hero Perseus with sword, the head of Medusa, and the winged sandals of the god Hermes as he battles the wounded sea monster that has been terrorizing the kingdom of Ethiopia. Minerva, goddess of wisdom and protector of Perseus, is seated at the top holding a mirror (the only way that Perseus could see Medusa—whose gaze turns living creatures to stone—in order to defeat her). The princess Andromeda, who was offered as a sacrifice to the monster, is chained to the rock.