Images of the mythical temptress who could turn you to stone have existed for thousands of years. One ancient example was just discovered.
With serpents for hair and her stone-cold gaze, representations of the ancient gorgon Medusa typically instill fear and recoiling among viewers. Since her mythic origins, Medusa’s visage has been employed in a myriad of ways that illustrate how different artists in different periods of history represent the grotesque.
But opposite feelings — joy, excitement, and satisfaction — likely ensued when University of Nebraska professor Michael Hoff and his team of excavators gazed upon an ancient marble head of Medusa within the ruins of a Roman city in southern Turkey. Discovered in Antiochia, a city founded sometime in the first century CE, the head shockingly survived the widespread destruction of pagan artifacts by the Christians who came to inhabit the site. The head, which survives in fragment, is believed to have been part of a temple’s pediment sculpture rather than a freestanding piece.
To learn more, visit Live Science.
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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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