The Holy place of Artemis in Corfu is a well-known instance of Greek design. It was enhanced with a massive sculpture of Medusa, whose head held special importance in Greek art.



The Medusa at the Holy Place of Artemis in Corfu, in the Historical Gallery of Corfu

The Holy place of Artemis in the Greek island of Corfu was constructed around 580 BCE and also was one-of-a-kind in several facets. It was the initial and also biggest antiquated holy place made from rock. The holy place's grand dimension (ground strategy 22.40 x 47.90 m, and also elevation at an approximated 6.10 m) undoubtedly prompted the adoration of all worshippers. It was likewise popular for the top quality of its pedimental enormous sculpture of the legendary Hag Medusa. Find out more to learn what the Holy place of Artemis shares with Hag Medusa's head.

The Holy place Of Artemis



Three-dimensional repair of the Holy place of Artemis in Corfu, through Greek Ministry of Society

Throughout the antiquated duration, holy places were made up of adequate columns lugging a 'hefty' pediment. The Holy place of Artemis did not get away the regulation. Nevertheless, it got to an extra well balanced connection in between its building components. This newly found equilibrium was important for the growth of the Doric order in the future.

As currently pointed out, the Holy place of Artemis was the very first of its kind constructed of rock. This shift from lighter products, like timber or clay, noted the start of a brand-new building custom in Greek style. Likewise, remember of the basic and also tidy examples of the entablature (the straight component of the holy place that hinges on the columns).

However, the eastern pediment of the Holy place of Artemis did not endure. Nonetheless, we can appreciate the rebuilt western one at the Historical Gallery of Corfu.

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The Pedimental Sculpture


West pediment from the Holy place of Artemis in Corfu, in the Historical Gallery of Corfu, using the Greek Ministry of Society

The pediment is without a doubt one of the most popular component of the Holy place of Artemis. The Medusa-- among the 3 Gorgons, the various other 2 being Stheno and also Euryale-- shows up between.

As a whole, the numbers are smaller sized on the brink as well as expand in dimension the closer they reach the facility. Medusa's visibility controls the scene. The monumentality (ca 2.9 meters high!) of the fertilization needs to have been a distinct view for the time.

Three-dimensional repair of the holy place in shade, by means of Diadrasis: Creative & electronic manufacturings at the Historical Gallery of Corfu

Bordering Medusa are her youngsters. On the right is Chrysaor and also on her left Pegasus (a lot more on them listed below). Alongside them are 2 big felines with frontal heads. Beyond of the pediment, there are smaller sized sculptures of gods combating titans.

Information from the pediment of the Holy place of Artemis

The standing facialed hair number on the right behind the feline is thought to be Zeus. He is illustrated in 3/4 holding a thunderbolt and also prepared to strike his opponent. We do not understand that are the various other smaller sized numbers, as there are no clear-cut aspects confirming their identification definite.

The Medusa

The Medusa at the Holy Place of Artemis in Corfu, in the Historical Gallery of Corfu

The Medusa is not just the biggest of the numbers however additionally one of the most in-depth one. She is sculpted in strong forms with clear signs for her garments and also face characteristics.

The embellishment is additionally rather outstanding. Serpents prolong from the Hag's shoulders while others create a belt around her waistline. There are likewise signs of wings much like various other representations of Medusa at the time, mostly located in ceramic.

Medusa is the uncontested focal point as well as one of the most 'to life' of all numbers. It nearly seems she extends her head to take a far better check out the worshipper coming close to the holy place.

Her arms and also legs are curved in a pinwheel style to suggest that the number is running. This is a standard position referred to as the Knielaufschema.

The scene shown is obsolete. Medusa's spawn were not birthed till after her fatality however her mommy as well as youngsters show up to life alongside each various other. This indicates we are seeing various scenes of the misconception at the same time, which is a typical quality in Greek art.

That Was Medusa?

Medusa by Caravaggio, ca. 1597, through Uffizi Galleries, Florence

To much better recognize what the Medusa indicated in classical times, we need to review the misconception of Perseus as well as Medusa.

According to Hesiod's Theogony, Gaia (Planet) brought to life Pontus (Sea) parthenogenetically. With each other they generated Medusa's moms and dads, Phorkys as well as Keto (a word utilized to explain sea beasts or big sea pets). Subsequently, they had actually 3 little girls referred to as the Gorgons. Of them just Medusa was temporal. Certainly this was the factor Perseus selected to eliminate her rather than her sis.

In the approved misconception, Medusa comes to be an impressive being as an outcome of magnificent penalty. While she was still human, Poseidon raped her within Athena's holy place. The Siren, incapable to specific retribution on a never-ceasing for this sacrilege, routed her rage in the direction of the target. In an alternate variation of the tale, Athena cursed Medusa after she asserted to be a lot more stunning than the Siren. However, the penalty stays the very same. Medusa comes to be a beast with serpents for hair, a beast so ugly that transforms whoever considers her right into rock.

Perseus beheading the resting Medusa, credited to Polygnotos, ca. 450-- 40 BCE, through The Metropolitan Gallery of Art, New York City

Medusa's fatality links 2 numbers, the hero Perseus and also Athena, that is still not pleased with the Hag's penalty. The tale starts when Polydektes, the king of Seriphos, techniques Perseus right into guaranteeing him Medusa's head as a wedding event present.

After lots of experiences, Perseus ultimately locates Medusa copulating her siblings. Coming close to calmly as well as with the assistance of Athena, he efficiently beheads the beast. From the brainless body leapt Medusa's youngsters; the winged steed Pegasus as well as Chrysaor. Later on, Pegasus came to be the well-known winged steed that the hero Bellerophon rode to slaughter the impressive Chimera. Chrysaor is not credited to anything specifically intriguing with the exception of being the daddy of Geryon. This last one was either three-bodied or three-headed, showing that the number 3 run in the family members's genes (keep in mind the Gorgons and also the Graie are all triplets).

Medusa's Head

Head of Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens, 1617-18, by means of Kunsthistorisches Gallery Wien

The intriguing point with Medusa's head is that it maintains its capabilities also after fatality. In differing variations of the misconception, Perseus utilizes it to remove his challengers as well as run away a collection of helpless experiences.

Ultimately, the head is offered to Athena that positions it on her aegis. That is where it is generally portrayed in old art. The siren of knowledge has actually overcome her vouched opponent and also has actually appropriated her powers.

Returning to the Medusa of Corfu, we can keep in mind that her head is rounded yet a lot more classy than the ones discovered in ceramic of the moment. Nonetheless, it is still not reasonably portrayed.

It is clear that the musician had the ability of resembling nature. This appears in various other numbers of the complicated. Oddly sufficient, he/she does pass by the course of realistic look when making Medusa's head. It appears that it has to stay abnormal as well as dehumanized. Medusa is a monster with powers past those of the human globe as well as the sculpture looks for to symbolize this perfect.

Terracotta kylix: eye-cup (alcohol consumption mug), authorized by Nikosthenes, ca. 530 B.C., through The Metropolitan Gallery of Art, New York City

Gorgoneion is a term that describes the Medusa's head and also face, usually utilized as an ornamental theme in style and also art generally. According to Stephen Wilk (Medusa: Fixing the Secret of the Hag, 2000) the Gorgoneia came before the misconception. Wilk says that Medusa's head was a mask on which later on musicians included a body. This indicates that gorgoneia additionally came before all representations of Medusa with a body. To back this insurance claim, Wilk looked, to name a few, at the Holy place of Artemis. There, he saw Medusa's big, abnormal head put on a body that can quickly come from an additional number.

This depiction of the Medusa is absolutely deliberate as well as complies with conventions that determined the beast's look. In the art of the duration, it was trivial to reasonably connect Medusa. What mattered one of the most was producing a well-known number with the capability to immediately activate anxiety.

Terracotta repainted gorgoneion antefix (roofing system floor tile), ca. 540 B.C., through The Metropolitan Gallery of Art, New York City

Medusa's meaning and also depiction transformed just in the Hellenistic duration. Then, from a sign of scary, she came to be a sign of hazardous elegance. This opened her imaginative depiction as well as permitted even more reasonable strategies to her picture. This brand-new images made its means to Roman art, then to the Renaissance, as well as from there to Hollywood.

The Holy place Of Artemis And Also The Significance Of Medusa's Head

Central panel of a mosaic flooring with the head of Medusa photographed by Carole Raddato, 1st-2nd centuries CE, in the National Gallery of Rome, through

Using Medusa's head and also eyes as ornamental icons on exclusive and also public style plainly shows their apotropaic feature; I.e. they existed to secure the owners from fiends.

Nonetheless, when it comes to the Holy place of Artemis, the Medusa offers something greater than an easy apotropaic feature. She exists to motivate and also awe. For the superstitious Greeks, the look of the Medusa was constantly an effective sign of frightening magnificent power. Before a massive Hag gazing from the top of the Holy place of Artemis, the god-fearing worshipper would certainly be "scared."

As Osborne (Classic and also antiquated Greek Art, 1998) composed:

"In this pediment we are not being informed the tale of Perseus and also the Hag, however offered with the Hag's power: below once again, the worshipper is prepared by building sculpture for the outstanding surprise of the gods."

Information from Medusa by Antonio Canova, 1804-06, using The Metropolitan Gallery of Art, New York City

Well worth keeping in mind is that the Medusa in classical times was likewise a sign of the Various other. Like a lot of half-man, half-animal beings, she was the Various other as discovered in nature. A sign of the raw pressure of nature that can dominate us with an easy appearance.

Medusa was likewise the Various other of a deeply overbearing patriarchal culture, a female. She can also be deemed one of the most severe Various other of this hierarchal system; an effective female, disorderly and also harmful. The misconception of the Medusa itself is a solid pointer of the impracticality of the divine. A power before which the temporal stays totally vulnerable. Medusa's penalty pressures us to face the fact that the all-natural borders, which in Greek folklore originate from magnificent regulations, can not be violated, also inadvertently.

Apollodorus, Biblioteca, Publication 2: equated by Frazer, J.G. 1990. Cambridge: Harvard College Press.

Belson, J. 1981. The Gorgoneion in Greek Style. Ph.D. diss., Bryn Mawr University.

Glennon, M. 2000. "Medusa in Old Greek Art." In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art Background. New york city: The Metropolitan Gallery of Art.

Leeming, D. 2013. Medusa: In the Mirror of Time. London: Response Publications.

Osborne, R. 1998. Classic as well as antiquated Greek Art. Oxford: Oxford College Press. 69-85

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books IV and also V: equated by Pope, A.; Dryden, J.; Garth, S.; Croxall. S.; Addison, J. et al. 2016. South Carolina: CreateSpace Independent Posting System.

Tsiafakis, D. 2004. "ΠΕΛΩΡΑ": Fabulous Creatures and/or Demons of Fatality? In Padgett, J.M. The Centaur's Smile: The Human Pet in Very Early Greek Art. New Sanctuary and also London: Princeton College Art Gallery.

Wilk, S. 2000. Medusa: Addressing the Secret of the Hag. Oxford: Oxford College Press.


By Antonis ChaliakopoulosMSc Gallery Researches, Bachelor's Degree Background & ArchaeologyAntonis is an excavator with an enthusiasm for galleries and also heritage and also an eager passion in visual appeals as well as the function of classic art. He holds an MSc in Gallery Researches from the College of Glasgow and also a Bachelor's Degree in Background and also Archaeology from the College of Athens (NKUA). Antonis is an elderly team member at, handling the Archaeology as well as Ancient Background division. In his leisure, he releases posts on his specialized.