Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Perseus and Andromeda’s wedding feast has been violently interrupted by Phineas, to whom Andromeda was formerly betrothed. Giordano has illustrated the dramatic moment when Phineas and his followers attack Perseus. Heavily outnumbered, Perseus has unveiled the severed head of the gorgon Medusa, who he had recently slain. He averts his eyes, because all those who look on Medusa immediately turn to stone. His attackers have had no time to react, and Giordano has vividly portrayed their flesh turning from pink to stone grey. Phineas is most likely the figure at the far left wearing the elaborate helmet and breastplate. His head and left side have already turned to stone and his mouth is frozen in a petrified scream, but his right arm and right leg are still pink with life.

The National Gallery, London



Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone


early 1680s


Oil on canvas


H 285 x W 366 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1983

Work type



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