Mythic Art: Perseus Rescues Andromeda

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Perseus Rescues Andromeda, Piero di Cosimo, 1510 
Mythic Art
By MISSY ROSENTHAL

Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiope of Joppa. Cassiope boasts to the Nereid sea nymphs about that Andromeda was far more beautiful than them. As an act of revenge, Poseidon ( G-d of the seas) sent a sea monster to Cepheus and Cassiope's kingdom. Only the sacrifice of Andromeda would appease the monster and the g-ds, leaving her to be chained to a rock and eaten by a horde of sea monsters. Perseus happened to be flying overhead on his Pegasus, upon seeing Andromeda he falls madly in love and proposes marriage. She accepts his proposal, leading Perseus to then slaughter the sea monster. 

Cosimo's rendition of the classic story adds drama to the piece through its intricate details. Unlike other depictions of the story, Cosimo includes figurines of the towns people to convey that Cassiope's reckless taunting did effect not just her daughter but the whole town. The artist highlights the immense size of the monster through perspective, such as the small housing atop the hill. The artist also shows perspective by using a rock in the foreground of the piece as a vanishing point. Additionally, Cosimo portrays the monster’s sheer size through the low water level. 

Cosimo incorporates a variety of cultures in the work, showing that though this story appears in Greek mythology it can be appreciated and its messages can be heeded by all. Perseus Rescues Andromeda preaches the negativities of gossip through the use of sinister mythological creatures, making this piece Mythic Art. 

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