From the ground to the stars: Perseus freeing Andromeda

Perseus freeing Andromeda, 1791, terracotta, 129×50×69 cm – Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon (France) by Joseph Chinard.


Here we see the perfect illustration of the purity of traditional art, and the aesthetic of the hand made, of quality over quantity, of craft over industry. A highly refined sculpture in the medium of terracotta. The same as any fire-baked clay pot or historic rural farmhouse utensil. It is merely clay, taken from the ground, and shaped by hand with water then dried. But the divinity of high art and culture have touched its creation and the result is priceless, superhuman. An homage to an ancient myth, which is an homage to our ancestors. An item from the most organic and humble of origins, only shaped by the ingenuity of a single mans labour. Without gimmick, or pretense, false narrative, or cultural hubris.

It is within the realm of anyone to reach for some clay and try their hand at this kind of art. The inspiration of the possible, the sensed excellence and unique fragility of natural materials.

It is self-affirming, fragile, anti-mercantile, and gloriously simple and perfect. This is what they call ‘fine art’.

A painting of the same theme: Perseus freeing Andromeda Paolo Veronese 1576-1578