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After Guido Reni, Perseus and Andromeda

Key facts
Full title Perseus and Andromeda
Artist After Guido Reni
Artist dates 1575 - 1642
Date made 1635-1700
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 280 × 205.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by William IV, 1836
Inventory number NG87
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Perseus and Andromeda
After Guido Reni

In this scene inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Andromeda, daughter of the Ethiopian queen Cassiope, is about to be sacrificed to placate a monster summoned by Neptune, god of the sea. The hero Perseus appears at top left on his winged horse Pegasus, preparing to kill the monster and rescue the distressed princess. Andromeda is depicted naked, though a swirling cloak preserves her modesty.

This work is a copy, with some variations, after Guido Reni’s painting of about 1635 (Pallavicini Collection, Rome). It was probably made in the latter half of the seventeenth century and deviates from the Pallavicini painting most notably in the position of Perseus‘ right arm. In Reni’s original, Perseus’ arm is drawn across his body; here, it is raised to strike the sea monster. It was not unusual for copyists to make alterations to the compositions they were replicating, and they often did so at the request of their clients.

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