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What is the meaning of Sculpture Perseus with the Head of Medusa?

Perseus with the Head of Medusa is a bronze sculpture made by Benvenuto Cellini in the period 1545–1554. The sculpture stands on a square base which has bronze relief panels depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda, similar to a predella on an altarpiece.

What is the meaning of Perseus with the Head of Medusa?

The statue had a political meaning and represented the power of the Duke who had “cut off the head” of the Republic. Medusa symbolises the Republican experiment and the snakes coming out of her body are the discords that have always affected democracy.

perseus with the head of medusa sculpture

Perseus is a famous hero in Greek mythology and the son of the main god Zeus. The king of Argo in ancient Greece had only one daughter but no son. When he asked the oracle, the oracle said that he was destined not to have a son and that he would die at the hands of his grandson. So the king locked his daughter in a bronze tower, but Zeus turned into golden rain to mate with the princess, and Perseus was born.

The king put his daughter and grandson in a wooden box and threw it into the sea. But Zeus secretly protected them and made the wooden box arrive safely on the small island of Seriphos in the Aegean Sea. The king of the island took in Perseus and his son and gradually fell in love with Perseus’ mother. When Perseus grew up, his stepfather asked him to go out on an adventure to exercise his courage. Perseus decided to take off Medusa’s head and present it to the king. Medusa was originally a beautiful girl, but she boasted that she was more beautiful than the goddess of wisdom Athena. Athena was angered by her and turned Medusa’s hair into poisonous snakes.

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What’s more terrifying is that Medusa’s eyes flashed with terrifying light, and anyone who was looked at by her would immediately turn into stone. Athena gave Perseus a shield, and Medusa could be seen from the shadow reflected by the shield, but she would not turn into stone. Perseus took advantage of Medusa’s deep sleep, found the right position from the shadow of the shield, and cut off her head.

Cellini’s “Perseus” chose the quiet moment just after the battle. He showed a naked image with a chic and heroic demeanor, full of monumental meaning and heroism. Perseus held the chopped-off head of Medusa in his left hand, held a knife in his right hand, and the center of gravity fell on his strong and powerful right leg. The clear and healthy muscle contours were sculpted incomparably exquisitely. Under his feet was Medusa’s headless body lying diagonally. To adapt to the shape of the base, it was coiled into an unnatural ball, and blood gushed out from the broken neck. The treatment of this blood column was thrilling.

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Cellini engraved his name on the straps on the statue’s chest; in addition, on the back of the statue, there is another face on the back of Perseus’ head, which is the author’s face.

cellini face behind of the sculpture

Cellini face behind of the sculpture

Where is Perseus with the Head of Medusa now?

It is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. The second Florentine duke, Cosimo I de’ Medici, commissioned the work with specific political connections to the other sculptural works in the piazza.

What did Perseus do with Medusa’s head in real life?

Perseus kept the head of Medusa with him until he got back home and petrified Polydectes, his mother’s suitor. Then he gave the head to Athena, who made an impression of the head on her shield, Aegis.

How could I get a replica of bronze sculpture of Perseus with Medusa?

Milystatue is a professional sculpture foundry, which has made many bronze sculpture replicas for Museum, Villa, Home Decor and some commercial place. Mily could customize this design in any size and color choices. Please feel free to contact us at

perseus with the head of medusa sculpture replica 3
perseus with the head of medusa sculpture replica 2
perseus with the head of medusa sculpture replica
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