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Venice 2014

Perseus and Andromeda

<em>Perseus and Andromeda</em>

Fig 5. Titian, Pursues and Andromeda, ca.
1554-56, London, Wallace Collection (Artstor)


The third work in the poesie Titian did for Philip II was the Perseus and Andromeda (figure 5). The work depicts Perseus dramatic rescue of the princess Andromeda from the sea monster. The nude Andromeda is chained to a cliff in the left side of the painting and she is facing the action going on in the right side of the work. Perseus descends from the sky in armor with his sword in his right hand and his shield in his left. His enemy, the sea monster, lay in the water with his mouth open showing his sharp teeth.  The figure of Andromeda has similar qualities, in line and form as the style of Michelangelo.[1]   

[1] Wethey, Paintings of Titian, 72.

Cellini, Perseus and Andromeda

Fig. 6 Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus and Andromeda, ca. 1554, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florance. (Artstor)

In the Perseus and Andromeda, Titian was most likely influenced by Benevento Cellini’s Perseus and Andromeda (Figure 6). Although Cellini’s relief was not finished until 1554, Titian most likely would have seen an early copy in Florence when the artist visited there. Cellini’s bronze relief depicted the same story as Titian’s painting although Cellini includes more figures in his work then Titian does.[1] The placement of the figures were similar. In both works, Perseus is in the sky falling toward the sea monster and Andromeda is chained to a cliff on the other side of the compositions. The artists show Perseus from a different direction. Titian’s Perseus is more at a sharp angle pointing to the right side of the canvas where the sea monster is and Cellini’s Perseus is not at a sharp angle. In both works, Andromeda has an arm raised above her head and the other down by her side and her legs are crossed. Cellini’s shows Andromeda almost siting on the cliff and Titian has her standing.

[1]Cecil Gould, “The Perseus and Andromeda and Titian’s Poesie,” The Burlington Magazine 105, no. 720 (1963): 114.