Gian Lorenzo Bernini, The Medusa, 1640s. Carrara marble. Musei Capitolini, Rome

Bernini's Medusa

November 17, 2011March 4, 2012

Musei Capitolini in Rome are lending San Francisco one of their greatest treasures, the remarkable Baroque masterpiece The Medusa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680), one of art history’s finest sculptors and a leading figure in Italian Baroque art and architecture. Recent conservation efforts have restored this sculptural triumph to its full glory and revealed previously hidden artistic techniques.

Believed to date from around 1638 to 1648, this extraordinary work takes its subject from classical mythology, as cited in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It shows the beautiful Medusa, one of the Gorgon sisters, caught in the terrible process of transformation into a monster. The Medusa will be displayed exclusively in the U.S. at the Legion of Honor in the museum’s Baroque gallery 6, where it can be seen in context with the Museums’ great collections of paintings and sculpture from the era of Bernini.

This loan is made possible by Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale—Musei Capitolini. George and Judy Marcus are the exclusive sponsors of the exhibition.