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© Estate of Bob Thompson. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, New York. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.


Artist: Bob Thompson (Born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1937 – 1966)
Culture: American
Date: 1964
Medium: Gouache on rag paper
10 3/8 x 10 7/8 inches (26.4 x 27.6 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of Paula Cooper in memory of Raymond D. Nasher
Label Text:This gouache is one of at least two works that Thompson created based on Titian's oil painting of Perseus and Andromeda (1553-62, Wallace Collection, London). Titian's Italian Renaissance painting became a springboard for Thompson's exploration of intense and expressive color, energetic composition and personal symbolism.

According to the ancient Greek myth, Perseus, the son of the god Zeus and mortal woman Danaë, discovers and rescues the beautiful Ethiopian princess Andromeda. Andromeda was ordered by an oracle to be sacrificed because her mother Casseopeia had offended the sea-god Poseidon. Perseus finds Andromeda chained to a rock by the sea as she is about to be devoured by a sea monster. In the classical story, Perseus slays the monster and later marries Andromeda. In this work, Thompson eliminates Andromeda's chains and the swath of drapery, thus exposing her full nudity. The open mouth of the monster is made even more threatening by the intense use of red and the emphasis on the sharp white teeth. Perseus, shown flying, is about to battle the sea creature. Thompson replaces Perseus's sword with one of the artist's personal symbols that often appear in his work-a bird, usually caught by the feet, sometimes hanging limp, other times trying to escape and fly away. Thompson's works, with their personal metaphors, ambiguous spaces, flattened forms, and expressionistic colors, often reference sexuality, violence, rituals and dreams, altering the content of the original sources. His reinterpretation of his sources in not specific, however, allowing the viewer to ponder different possibilities of meaning.

Object number: 2007.7.1