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On Display

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

The Baleful Head

The final painting in the series shows Perseus and Andromeda at peace in a beautiful and fruitful garden. In order to convince Andromeda that he is the son of Zeus and claim her hand in marriage Perseus shows her Medusa's head, taking care to look only at the reflection in the water. Burne-Jones ends his story with a moment of calm, but Perseus's adventures are not over. He will return to Seriphos to free his mother, turning the king and his court to stone with his trusty Gorgon's head. The last two cartoons in the series are highly finished and are reproduced almost exactly in the final oil paintings. Here the idyllic setting and warm colours confirm the story's happy ending and make a welcome contrast to the bleak world of the previous episodes.

Mediummixed media on paper
Dimensions1537mm x 1290mm
Acquisition NumberSOTAG : 108
Credit LinePurchased in 1934 through the Chipperfield Bequest Fund

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