Swords in Art - Perseus Slaying Medusa
- Sculptor: Laurent Honoré Marqueste
- Culture: French
Laurent-Honoré Marqueste (Toulouse, 12 June 1848 — Paris, 5 April 1920) was a French sculptor in the neo-Baroque Beaux-Arts tradition. He was a pupil of François Jouffroy and of Alexandre Falguière and won the Prix de Rome in 1871.
On his return he made his official debut at the Paris salon of 1874 (Jacob and the Angel). In 1893 he became a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. He became a member of the Institute in 1894, he received the Legion of Honour in 1884, (officer, 1894; commander, 1903).
For this sculpture, Marqueste has chosen the dramatic climax of the Greek myth according to which Perseus raises his sword to strike, while taking a firm grip of snake infested hair, so that he can avoid her petrifying gaze. Both Roman and Florentine sculpture have given sustenance to Marqueste’s pursuit of movement and violence in the work. French salon sculpture marks the transition between traditional sculpture and the modern.
The sword carried by Perseus in Marqueste’s sculpture seems to be a falchion. A falchion (Old French: fauchon; Latin: falx, meaning “sickle”) is a one-handed, single-edged sword of European origin, whose design is reminiscent of the Persian scimitar and the Chinese dao. The weapon combined the weight and power of an axe with the versatility of a sword.
Falchions are found in different forms from around the 11th century up to and including the sixteenth century. In some versions the falchion looks rather like the scramasax and later the sabre, and in some versions the form is irregular or (as is the case in the picture to the right) like a machete with a crossguard. The blade designs of falchions varied widely across the continent and through the ages.
Source: Glyptoteket | Wikipedia