The Statue of Perseus, or Perseus with the Head of Medusa, is a bronze figure that was sculpted by Benvenuto Cellini in 1545. It depicts the story of Perseus destroying Medusa, a mythological Gorgon with snakes for hair and whose eyes turned humans to stone. The statue shows Perseus holding Medusa’s severed head raised triumphantly in one hand, having beheaded the monster. The statue stands upon a bronze base of relief panels depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda. Cellini was the first to incorporate narrative reliefs into the sculptures at the Piazza della Signoria, where it still stands.
The Perseus Statue was added to the square amongst some of the more significant statues of the time, such as Michelangelo’s David and Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus. As these are stone statues of men, it is believed by scholars to be a motif response to these works. One can still see the unique craftsmanship as a prominent bronze sculpture with great detail (Cellini was first and foremost a goldsmith). The statue is considered to be a masterpiece of Italian Mannerism.
The Perseus Statue is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, just around the corner from the Uffizi. It is free to see.