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Medusa Rondanini

The so-called “Rondanini Medusa”. Marble, Roman copy of a 5th-century BC Greek original by Phidias, which was set on the shield of Athena Parthenos. The Munich Glyptothek’s Medusa Rondanini is possibly a 5th-century BC work, and the oldest-known ”beautiful gorgoneion” sculpture. The design may have been copied from a gilded bronze aegis that once hung in the Acropolis, where it would have been meant to ward off evil and bad luck. A revision of the grotesque, disk-shaped death masks of older gorgoneia, the Medusa Rondanini appears to borrow the idealized likeness of Athena of Velletri, wreathed in decorative snakes and delicate owl wings—Chthonic dread and death mixed with Olympian beauty and cunning. While on display in the Palazzo Rondanini in Rome, it was noticed and first brought to the attention of Northern European art connoisseurs in the 1780s by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote, “I would say something about it if everything one could say about such a work were not a waste of breath.” Located in the Glyptotheum of Munich
Medusa Rondanini

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149 Item(s)

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