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Liberation of Andromeda: A Closer Look

andromeda

Piero di Cosimo, Liberation of Andromeda, c. 1510–1513, oil on panel, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Ovid’s Metamorphoses tells the legend of the princess Andromeda, who was abandoned as a sacrifice to a sea monster. The warrior Perseus, flying on winged sandals, saw Andromeda from above and fell in love with her. After slaying the fearsome beast, he rescued the beautiful maiden and won her hand. Piero painted this version of the tale for the Strozzi family of Florence. The oblong narrative composition may originally have been a spalliera painting: a fanciful mythology set within paneled walls in a domestic setting at shoulder (spalla) height. Liberation of Andromeda adorned the marital chamber of Filippo Strozzi the Younger and Clarice de’ Medici. According to his biographer, Giorgio Vasari, “Piero never made a more lovely or more highly finished picture than this one.”

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