Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian king Cepheus. One day her mother Cassiopeia boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids. Neptune, the father of the Nereids, was so angered at her arrogance that he sent a sea-monster to destroy her country. According to an oracle, the only hope of deliverance lay in sacrificing Andromeda, the king's daughter, to the monster. It was decided to chain the maiden to a rock and surrender her to her horrific fate.
Perseus, who had vanquished the feared Gorgon Medusa, approached Andromeda on his winged horse Pegasus as she lay chained to the rock. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the king's daughter, he asked her parents for her hand in marriage,freeing her in the nick of time. The painting of Perseus und Andromeda in the Princely Collections is a studio copy after Rubens, a copy of an autograph work by Rubens today preserved in the Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen in Berlin. Painted on oak and smaller than the copy, the original in Berlin has been dated to around 1622.
The painting shows the moment of Andromeda's liberation: Perseus unchains Andromeda, her gaze modestly lowered, from the rock. Two of the winged putti assist him while the other three busy themselves with Pegasus. The bronze shield with the head of Medusa recalls the earlier heroic deed performed by Perseus.
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Peter Paul Rubens
Perseus and Andromeda
Oil on canvas
height 104 cm, width 144 cm
Inv.-No. GE404
Provenance: presumably acquired by Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein before 1712; identified for the first time as a fideicommissum by the seal of 1733
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Decius Mus relating his dream, 1616/1617
Decius Mus preparing for Death, 1616/1617
The Death of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Dismissal of the Lictors, 1616/1617
The Interpretation of the Victim, 1616/1617
The Trophy, 1616/1617
The Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1637
Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615
Oil sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
Mars und Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, c. 1616
Satyr and Maid with Fruit Basket, 1615
The Lamentation, c. 1612
Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death, 1615/1622
Double Portrait of Albert and Nikolaus Rubens, c. 1626/1627
Portrait of Jan Vermoelen, 1616
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616
Henry IV seizes the Opportunity to conclude Piece, 1628
The Victory of Henry IV at Coutras, 1628
The Consecration of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus
Three Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Joachim, 1615/1620
St. Catherine in the Clouds, 1620/1621
Four Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Anne, 1615/1620
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1601/1602
The Virgin adorned with flowers, 1609/1610
Psyche taken up into Olympus, 1621
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cows, 1616
Allegory of war, 1628
The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, 1628 (?)
The Assumption of the Virgin, modello, 1637
Ganymede, 1611/1612
Diana´s Hunt, 1628
St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucified Christ, 1625
Portrait of a Monk (?)
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Vorbild Rubens (Rubens as model)
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