Rondanini Type Medusa on a Trapezophoros with a Gryphon’s Head
“Turn thyself round, and keep thine eyes close shut, For if the Gorgon appear, and thou shouldst see it, No more returning upward would there be.” (Inferno, IX, 57)
Medusa, one of the most terrible creatures of Greek mythology, is depicted in this female face, characterized by the wings and coils of snakes that come out of her hair and intertwine under her chin. The Torlonia replica is one of the best versions of the Rondanini type, named after the most famous Medusa preserved in Monaco. The model for the realization of the face of Medusa in Roman times was surely based on the Gorgon made by Phidias on the shield of the chryselephantine statue of Athena Parthenos in the Athenian temple. In ancient times Medusa was in fact represented on the shield or on the aegis of the goddess. As told by one myth, Athena attached the head of the Gorgon in the center of her chest as a sign of victory.
The ancient base with griffin head and the Medusa are not relevant to each other.
Inventory: MT 294
Material: White marble
Technique: Work sculpted through the use of: chisels (also square-tipped and toothed) rasps
Dating: Imperial age
Origin: Giustiniani Collection