'Perseus and Andromeda', Frederic Leighton, 1891

The painting had a strong vertical composition. In the foreground there is woman, directly behind her is a dragon breathing fire. Appearing, surrounded by light, is a man on a winged horse.

Oil on canvas, 235 x 129.2cm

Accession Number WAG129

Andromeda, daughter of the Queen of Ethiopia, was tied to the rocks as a sacrifice to the sea monster sent by Neptune to ravage the country. She was rescued by Perseus, who eventually married her. Perseus is shown riding on his winged horse Pegasus, having already shot an arrow into the monster.

The contorted pose of Andromeda within the twisted coils of the monster is typical of Leighton|'s late style. Such sophisticated linear rhythms and intricate designs were highly praised by critics in 1891. Perseus and Andromeda was a popular subject for artists at this time so formal elements such as these were considered important.

A poem inspired by this painting!

Adam Fuller was the winner of our 'Get Inspired...at the Walker' poetry competition and wrote this poem inspired by 'Perseus and Andromeda'.

Shining Saviour

Andromeda struggles with suffocation,
trapped in the evil monsters coils.

Its soaring red eyes fuel more danger,
another fire flavoured roar, poisons the sky.

Andromeda's body is weaker than the water below.
Compared to the domineering beasts stance.

A flying horse ruptures sunrise clouds,
Perseus heads the salvage conquest.

Andromeda's vibrant red hair brushes the sea,
a further defiant blaze is directed toward the saviour.

Bravado like and merciless,
a gold arrow repels the raging heat.

Future marriage visions conjure in the baby blue sky.

The gold arrow slashes the monsters black heart.

A stampede of waves soak the horses wings.
Perseus and Andromeda soar back through the clouds.

By Adam John Fuller