Caravaggios Medusenschild von 1597 – ein Gorgoneion?

Constanze Hager

Published online:

30 Dec 2016

Share

Abstract

Abstract

Caravaggio’s emblematic Medusa is mostly regarded as a representation of the mirrored decapitation of the Gorgon and thus as a reflection on Perseus’ protective shield. This essay proposes a new interpretation: Caravaggio’s Medusa is an adaptation of the antique Gorgoneion. The Gorgoneion historically depicted Medusa’s head with its petrifying gaze, which was placed on the shield of Athena. Due to its symbolic and protective power, the Gorgoneion became a frequent subject in art and handicraft well into Baroque art. Caravaggio’s contemporaries – including the poets Gaspare Murtola and Giambattista Marino – left witness that they interpreted the image as a Gorgoneion. In addition, the image itself contains elements that buttress this interpretation, including, inter alia, the green surface of the shield and the shadow. Both the historic accounts and the painted details therefore render an interpretation of the painting as Gorgoneion very likely.

Other Articles in this Issue:

Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

Volume 86 (2023)
Issue 1 (March 2023)
Volume 85 (2022)
Issue 4 (December 2022)
Issue 3 (September 2022)
Issue 2 (June 2022)
Issue 1 (March 2022)
Volume 84 (2021)
Issue 4 (December 2021)
Issue 3 (September 2021)
Issue 2 (June 2021)
Issue 1 (March 2021)
Volume 83 (2020)
Issue 4 (December 2020)
Issue 3 (September 2020)
Issue 2 (July 2020)
Issue 1 (April 2020)
Volume 82 (2019)
Issue 4 (December 2019)
Issue 3 (October 2019)
Issue 2 (June 2019)
Issue 1 (April 2019)
Volume 81 (2018)
Issue 4 (December 2018)
Issue 3 (September 2018)
Issue 2 (July 2018)
Issue 1 (April 2018)
Volume 80 (2017)
Issue 4 (December 2017)
Issue 3 (September 2017)
Issue 2 (July 2017)
Issue 1 (April 2017)
Volume 79 (2016)
Issue 4 (December 2016)
Issue 3 (September 2016)
Issue 2 (July 2016)
Issue 1 (April 2016)

Get instant, unlimited access to this journal

Related titles

Would you like to receive monthly information about new publications and events?

DKV
EUR
English

Deutscher Kunstverlag

Lützowstraße 33

10785 Berlin

+49 (0)30 / 27 90 76 - 0

Neumarkter Straße 28

81673 München