Perseus and Andromeda

Image credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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Andromeda, chained at the ankle, languidly awaits her fate as a sacrifice to a sea monster. Her sensuous body dominates the composition and her liberator, Perseus, is only lightly delineated in the sky. He holds the Gorgon's head on his shield which will shortly turn the monster into stone. Gustave Moreau's subjects were exclusively taken from classical mythology or the bible and the large paintings he exhibited in the mid-1860s at the Paris Salon gained him considerable success. He painted with a sumptuous richness; his larger works have elaborately encrusted surfaces built-up from many layers of pigment. The poetry and imaginative power of his work particularly appealed to men of letters and Joris-Karl Huysmans wrote in his novel 'À rebours' of 'this great artist, this mystical pagan, this seer who could conjure up in the everyday world of Paris such visions and magical apotheosis of other ages'.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery



Perseus and Andromeda




oil on panel


H 20 x W 25.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1965

Work type



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Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RL England

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