Florence Travel Guide

Perseus

This masterpiece in bronze by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) is as splendid as it is famous. The artist signed the work on the strap that crosses the hero's chest in 1545-1554.

Perseus of Cellini, Florence

Andromeda's liberator is shown just after he has cut off the Medusa's head. The features and the entire figure transmit the c1assic ideal of restrained force. The drama is over and the grave gesture, the hero's foot set on the monster's body, suggests achievement.

According to tradition the complicated ornamentation of the winged helmet Perseus is wearing conceals a self-portrait of the artist. The bas-relief (a copy of the originai now in the Bargello) with Perseus liberating Andromeda is in the pedestal where the refinement of execution and the decorative fantasy reveal Cellini's mastery as a goldsmith.

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