Bronze with electric lights
17 x 14 1/2 x 7 1/2in (43.2 x 36.8 x 19.1cm)
Museum purchase with the Ralph A. Anderson Jr. Memorial Fund
For millennia, Medusa, whose gaze could turn onlookers to stone, was the personification of the femme fatale, the lethal maneater whose powers both inflamed male desire and destroyed masculine aggression. Gabrielle Dumontet’s Head of Medusa, a beautifully cast bronze with snake heads terminating in tiny lights, menacing vacant eyes, and gaping mouth, fits this mythological legend of a figure who was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying.
In a contemporary context, Medusa has become a symbol of female empowerment, a force for good, even protection. In particular, she is a positive reminder of survival for those who have been assaulted and is frequently depicted in tattoos.
Masques de Carpeaux à Picasso; 2008; p. 50, 52; cat. 32
Signature & date
Foundry mark behind the head at top center
Gabrielle Dumontet (French, b.1860, d.1936)