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The Medusa’s delicately articulated, broad face, moreover, is expressionless apart from the very slightest hint of an enigmatic, almost seductive, smile.

La Ligne, ou la Forme, est le mystère du monde physique, le mystère de l’Art, le mystère de la Beauté.’[i] He places the Medusa in a highly simplified and largely indeterminate setting dominated by a menacing reddish-orange, almost apocalyptic, glow, which creates a lively tension in the work as it contrasts with the green-blue of the serpents and the blue liquid in the saucers as well as the blue of the veil that partly conceals the face of the Medusa.

This colour also vaguely suggests the colour of blood – hinting towards the violent murder of the Gorgon described in Classical sources.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.

(1893) is a skilfully executed invention – a disturbing sphinx-like creation that is an outstanding example of contemporary anti-realist tendencies that valued the imagination and ideas as the primary source of artistic expression.

Delville reduces his narrative to a few essential motifs concentrating on the veiled Medusa with her dense mass of serpentine hair; her hands holding bowls of fluid being consumed by the serpents; and surrounding her, four seemingly burnt-out poppy pods.