Click here to view image
Luca Giordano (Napoli, 1634-1705)
Oil on canvas, 375 x 366 cm
Throne Room, west wall (inv. no. 748)
This large painting portrays a crucial episode in the myth of Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, told in the fifth book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which he saves his bride Andromeda. She had been first promised to Phineus who, to avenge his rejection, burst into the wedding banquet with a group of warriors. Perseus, depicted on the right of the scene, defends himself against the attack by holding up the head of the Gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turns the enemies into stone. In front of him is Phineus, attempting to defend himself with his shield. At his feet are some of his fallen followers, and in the background the guests cover their eyes to avoid the same fate. Luca Giordano’s imposing composition, signed bottom left, is filled with spectacular contrivances and theatrical effects, such as the two columns at the centre of the scene around which is wound a dark red cloth, dividing the scene.