Turned to Stone: Medusa


Medusa was one of three Gorgon sisters. All three were vicious with sharp fangs, brass hands and hair composed of living venomous snakes. Medusa was mortal while Stheno and Euryale were immortals. But her sisters could not turn men into stone with their gaze. Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) was a German Symbolist/ Art Nouveau artist, designer and architect who often chose mythological subjects for his work. His painting of Medusa shows the hero Perseus holding her severed head as a shield and weapon. Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) believed that art should make people dream as he does with his disturbing interpretation of the disembodied monster. Perhaps most provocative is a woman’s view of Medusa. American painter Alice Pike Barney (1857-1931) used her daughter, Laura Clifford Barney as the model for her blue hued creature trapped by circumstance.