Perseus and Medusa
On this #TuscanTuesday, we are thrilled to bring you another virtual tour of a Florence masterpiece, compliments of our friend and guide, Freya of Freya’s Florence. A couple of weeks ago, Freya showed us around (at least from the outside) the grand Palazzo Vecchio, which is and has been for centuries the seat of Florence’s government. Today, she walks us over to one of the most iconic statues to grace the piazza outside of the Palazzo Vecchio, the bronze masterpiece depicting Perseus and Medusa after their gruesome and fatal battle (fatal for Medusa, anyway). View the video here.
I absolutely love the piazza where this and many other bronze and marble relics of the Renaissance live. It’s known as the Piazza Signoria, because this is where the elected officials of Florence (the Signoria) would gather to meet and conduct Florence’s business.
The spacious outdoor loggia that dominates the piazza, the Loggia dei Lanzi, was once the stage from which the officials would make important announcements to the public. Now the loggia is like a free, outdoor museum to all passersby, telling Florence’s fascinating history through its beautiful sculptures. Learn more about this special spot in Florence here.
From Freya’s brief tour, you will hear the story of one particular work of art in the loggia- Benvenuto Cellini’s bronze depiction of Perseus and Medusa, as Perseus stands triumphantly atop Medusa’s bloody body, holding her severed head. It’s a stunning work of art with so much movement and emotion. And it has quite a story to tell. Would you like to know why Perseus needed winged feet, or what made his shield particularly useful in the slaying of Medusa? Sorry, no spoilers in this post. Watch Freya’s video and see for yourself.