Perseus frees Andromeda - Rubens. Oil, canvas, 99.5x139 cm
One of the indisputable masterpieces of Rubens, created by him in the period 1620-21. Based on the ancient story of the son of Zeus Perseus, who defeated the terrible Medusa Gorgon and the beautiful Andromeda, the daughter of King Kephei and Queen Cassiopeia, doomed to become a victim of a sea monster, the completely Flemish acquires a completely new sound.
Princess Andromeda is no longer a classical antique beauty with verified proportions - the artist endowed her with the features of a puffy, burly Flemish girl with golden hair and a glowing blush on her cheeks. The unusually airy, light, glazing colors of her almost naked body, resonantly contrast with Perseus steel armor, his sparkling shield with the Gorgon's head attached, with all the powerful figure of the hero depicted with many details: winged sandals on his legs, a wreath over his head, an invisible helmet in the hands of cupid.
Another cupid holds under the bridle of Pegasus, the winged horse born from a drop of blood of the murdered Gorgon. And this horse is not a thin-legged horse from ancient myths, but a strong, white-maned Flemish stallion, all to match its rider.
The winged goddess of victory - Nika, holding a laurel wreath over Perseus' head, gives the whole canvas the character of a solemn action, even an allegory, so beloved by Rubens. The juxtaposition of the two central movements in the picture: the decisive, confident impulse of the hero Perseus and the embarrassed, bashful, incredibly feminine, oncoming impulse of Princess Andromeda, creates a subtle and, at the same time, “naked” play of the nascent feelings of lovers. For the artist, it is not so important to observe the ancient plot as the chanting of a healthy, strong, confident body in a trembling and such a natural rapprochement.
The color structure of the work is saturated with pearl pink, pearlescent, flesh-colored, bright red, golden, light green, bright burgundy spots that harmonize with each other and create a majestic, solemn mood of what is happening. The great master Rubens in this masterpiece is real, authentic, like never before!