Perseus turns Phineas and his followers to stone by Giordano

Perseus turns Phineas and his followers to stone by Giordano
Perseus turns Phineas and his followers to stone by Giordano

The Italian painterLuca Giordanois one of the most prolific painters in all of Art History, in fact, he was better known as “Luca fapresto” (Luca does it fast). Maybe that's why he got this assignment.

Today his great canvas of Perseus turns Phineas and his followers to stone hangs in the halls of the National Gallery in London, but the truth is that it was originally made for the reception room of a palace in Genoa (Italy). And this commission received by Luca Giordano consisted of three monumental canvases. For example, this one from Perseus has an area of ​​275 x 366 cm.


Perseus turns Giordano's Phineas to stone

The other two were of similar dimensions and were dedicated to the following topics. One religious such as the Death of Jezebel and another from the history of Rome: the Rapture of the Sabine Women.

All of them were made in the year 1680, and they are magnificent examples of this Baroque artist. Giordano (1634 – 1705) was born in Naples and there he received his first training as a painter, however in 1652 he already left his hometown and was in places like Rome, Florence or Venice, and even for a few years he was working in the court of Spain. And the truth is that his style is the result of all these influences and elements of thedifferent Italian pictorial schools.

The result is an exuberant painting in which one can trace the colors typical of Titian or Veronese, the studied composition of Pietro di Cortona or the silhouetted figures characteristic of Matia Pretti.

With all this he generates a scene typical of this moment of the Baroque. It is an action scene, a confrontation between light and darkness, between good and evil, between beauty and horror.

Somehow, without us knowing the details of the mythological story in which Perseus uses the head of Medusa to petrify Phineas and his companions, the truth is that we can identify what happens in the painting, and above all, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. The figure of Perseus, in the purest blue color of the painting, is visually isolated from the rest and is also the only one looking at us viewers. Something that, on the other hand, is justified by the story, since he cannot look at Medusa, because if he does, he will be petrified like her enemies.

An attitude of Perseus identical to how he appears to us in many works of art since ancient times, since we see him represented in the Roman mural paintings of the city of Pompeii.

Although the best known and most popular representation of Perseus and the head of Medusa is possibly a sculpture. We talk about beautiful Perseus of Cellini seen in Florence.

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