Giovanni David (Italian, 17431790)
Etching; plate 11 15/16 x 8 1/2 in. (30.4 x 21.6 cm)
Purchase, 2001 (2001.741)
David depicts the moment when Perseus frees Andromeda, having slain the sea monster to whom she was to be sacrificed. On the ground to the right of Perseus lies the shield whose reflective surface had enabled him to slay the snake-haired Medusa, since looking on the Gorgon directly would have turned him to stone. Although classical sources describe Perseus as flying with the aid of winged sandals, artists often show him riding Pegasus, born from Medusa's blood. Considered an embodiment of fame, the winged horse was an appropriate mount for a hero.