Earlier Lectures Lectures

“Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa – the Meaning Behind the Violence” by Sara Myers

We are happy to announce our third presenter, Sara Myers, with her presentation “Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa – The Meaning Behind the Violence.” Sara received her MA in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Colorado Boulder and her BA in Classics with a minor in Art History from Brigham Young University. She has worked at both the Denver Art Museum and the Children’s Museum of Denver as a museum educator. Her interests lie in the artistic representation of classical mythology throughout history. You can follow her on Facebook ( and Instagram (@smyers778)

Her presentation focuses on the 16th century depiction of Perseus and Medusa commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici and completed by Benvenuto Cellini.

 She has provided us with the following abstract:

“Commissioned by Cosimo I de ‘Medici shortly after his appointment as Grand Duke, the famous bronze sculpture of Perseus with the Head of Medusa completed by Benvenuto Cellini in 1554 uses the myth of the great hero Perseus to serve as a visual representation of Cosimo’s rise to power as well as act as a warning to the enemies of the Medici. The mythological symbolism, the location of the statue, the supplemental imagery found on the base of the bronze, as well as surrounding artwork all lend themselves to the idea that this statue was commissioned to commemorate a critical event in Cosimo I de ‘Medici’s rise to power. This presentation takes a closer look at the context, the myth, and the statue as a whole to fully appreciate the thought that went into the commission of this statue. I explore how a story frequently told and depicted in the ancient world was effectively used to make a bold statement about Cosimo I de’ Medici and visually cemented his claim to power in Florence.”