Rubens presented the Andromeda myth, derived from Ovid's account in the 'Metamorphoses', with some narrative breadth. Andromeda was chained to a rock and exposed to a sea-monster as a punishment for her mother's arrogance, who had dared to boast that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids. Perseus, who had just returned from his victorious struggle with the feared Gorgon Medusa, is hurrying on to the scene to free Andromeda from her chains; the slain monster is lying on the left. The light-toned, softly and atmospherically shaded colour is typical of Rubens's work in the 1620s. As a painter trained in the humanities he was able to appropriate from antiquity: the form of Andromeda and of the putto who is working on her chains is based on the Roman Statue of 'Venus felix'.


  • Title: Perseus Freeing Andromeda
  • Creator: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Date Created: 1638
  • Physical Dimensions: w94.0 x h189.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Flemish
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Claudia Banz // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist information: Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish Baroque painter in the 17th century who mainly created religious works and portraits. He received a humanist education and studied under the late Mannerist artists Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen. He finished his apprenticeship in 1598 and started his career as an independent master. He lived in Italy for nine years (1600-1609), where he was influenced by Titian, whose impact is reflected in such works as 'The Fall of Man' (1628-29). After his return to Antwerp he lived and worked there until 1622, when he was called to Paris to create works for the Luxembourg Palace. He subsequently travelled to Spain and England where his diplomatic services were highly appreciated. Gout-ridden he died in Antwerp. He is classified as a representative of a style that emphasized movement, colour and sensuality. Rubens is known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and history paintings that are characterized by mythology and allegory. One of his best known images is 'The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant in the Honeysuckle Bower' (1609-10).
  • Artist Place of Death: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Artist Place of Birth: Siegen, Germany
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1577-06-18/1640-05-30

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