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Rondanini Medusa
So-called Rondanini Medusa. Marble, Roman copy after a 5th-century BC Greek original by Phidias, which was set on the shield of Athena Parthenos.

Homer wrote about the Gorgon on four occasions, but only about the head, as if the creature had no body. Up to the 5th century B.C., the head depicted was very ugly, with her tongue sticking out, boar tusks, puffy cheeks, her eyeballs staring straight ahead and the snakes twisting all around her. The direct frontal stare was highly unusual in ancient Greek art. In some cases a beard, (probably representing streaks of blood) was added to her chin, making her appear as a wild. Gorgoneia painted on the shields of warriors on mid-5th century Greek vases, however, are not as ugly, strange or frightening. By that time, the Gorgon had lost her tusks and the snakes were rather stylized. The Hellenistic marble known as the Medusa Rondanini shows how the Gorgon changed over time into a beautiful woman.
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