​Statuette of a Running Gorgon

​Statuette of a Running Gorgon


Medusa, the mortal mythical Gorgon, faces the viewer straight on, a dangerous moment when those who gaze at her will be turned to stone. She may be in flight, aided by a large pair of wings and her winged boots. Medusa’s story is familiar. From a union with Poseidon, she will have two children, the winged horse Pegasus and the boy Chrysaor. They will emerge from the stump of her neck after the hero Perseus cuts off her head. We see Medusa before Perseus reaches her.

A Greek female in the 6th century BCE wearing long hair usually represented a maiden, which was Medusa’s previous status. Here she has abundant long textured hair, both sinuous and segmented to describe wavy texture. In later Greek art her hair will appear as intertwined snakes coiling and writhing across her head. Snakes coiling around her arms and interlocking at her waist in this statuette introduce this serpentine element that will form an integral part of her appearance.


Work Date:
540 BCE
Credit Line:
Yale University Art Gallery (2002.95.2)