Andromeda and Perseus, Titian

Andromeda and Perseus, Titian
Andromeda and Perseus, Titian

Under the name of "poetry" we find a set of canvases that the Renaissance artist Tiziano painted for the future king of Spain Philip II when he had not yet ascended the throne. It is a set of eight canvases although at first it was thought that there were only six since the artist never contemplated the commission- all of them designed to be exhibited together in the same room that due to the dimensions of the paintings had to be pretty big.


The work that we analyze here and which is en titled Perseus and Andromeda is a large painting painted in oil on canvas that measures about 2 meters wide and a little over meter eighty high. The stone is now part of the collection on display at the Wallace Collection.

The canvas formed, together with the Rape of Europe, the last of the pairs of poems that the painter sent to the monarch and specifically this canvas replaced the story of Jason and Medea that Titian never finally painted. The Venetian artist was inspired by Ovid's account of the metamorphoses to represent his canvas; as narrated in the work of the Greek poet Andromeda she was the daughter of the kings of Jaffa

Her mother Cassiopeia said that Andromeda's beauty was superior to that of the Nereids, the nymphs of Neptune. Due to the lack of respect that this meant for the god of the sea, the oracle Haman predicted that AndromedaHe had to be punished and so, the young woman ended up tied to some rocks. Perseus who had just her and fell madly in love with her. After killing the beast that Poseidon had sent, Perseus and Andromeda got married.

In the foreground we see Andromeda tied to the rocks due to her punishment, the young woman turns to see her savior fighting the beast sent by Poseidon. The distorted posture of the characters with strong foreshortenings and impossible postures tell us about the influence that the first echoes of Mannerism would have on the Venetian's painting.

In the same way, the light effects speak to us of an incipient tenebrism more typical of the Baroque era, where the lady appears strongly illuminated and the rest of the composition -hero included- is plunged into darkness.

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