Charles Napier Kennedy, Perseus and Andromeda, 1890

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of Cassiopeia and Cepheus, the King of Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia). Cassiopeia boasted that she and Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs, the Nereids. When Poseidon got wind of this he demanded that Andromeda be sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus or the entire kingdom would suffer. Andromeda was chained to rock on a coastal cliff and left for the monster.

Just then, Perseus passed by on his winged sandals after having killed the gorgon Medusa and instantly fell in love with Andromeda. He swooped in, petrified Cetus using the gorgon’s head, and rescued Andromeda. He made Andromeda his wife and returned to Greece.

Andromeda is never asked about what she wants, but rather, is treated like a prize to be won at every step. Kennedy portrays her as a more-than-willing participant in the love affair with Perseus; she clings sultrily to her rescuer.

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