Henry-Louis Picou (French, 18241895)
Andromeda Chained to a Rock, 1874
Oil on canvas, 47 3/8 x 33 3/8 in.
DM 730

Like his contemporary Jean-Léon Gérôme (18241904), Picou was a student of Paul Delaroche (17971856) and a leading practitioner of the néo-grec style in the early 1850s. Lighthearted themes of love were his forte, and during the Second Empire (18521870) his compositions were widely known in the United States and England in the form of lithographs. Andromeda Chained to a Rock depicts the warrior Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë, rescuing Andromeda from a fierce sea monster. Perseus brandishes the severed head of Medusa, which had the power to turn all who gazed upon it to stone. Picou organized his composition along a forceful diagonal axis, countering the downward thrust of Perseus’s muscular arm and sword with the tormented Andromeda’s voluptuous torso and upswept arms.