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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:55

Video transcript

we're in the cap line museums in Rome and we're looking at this gorgeous little sculpture this bust by Jin Lorenzo Bernini it's not really little her head looks life-size or maybe even slightly larger yeah yeah I know it is you're right it's bigger than life but I guess after looking at the mass of Marcus Aurelius oh that's it soon it seems small not right it's a bus but you're right it's larger than life and it's of Medusa so this is a Greek myth she was one of the three Gorgon sisters as portrayed by the Greeks as a monster who had hair replaced by snakes Yeah right and here they're riot and his gaze turned men to stone that's right yes and in fact when Perseus beheads her he uses the reflection in his shield so that he can attack her without without looking at her and cheating in the 19th century comes to represent the kind of femme fatale dangerous that's right woman but here she's depicted so sympathetically it may be the only time I've seen her less as a threat and more as I was the kind of victim she's so baroque in that she's making this expression that looks very momentary we've caught her making this expression on her face and this captured sense of time because of the realism of the face and this expression it makes you like oh I want to make the expression on her face of opening my mouth and pushing my brows together and up and as soon as I do that you get this feeling of being very vulnerable and frightened almost she's terrified of herself right that's right and to imagine what it must feel like to have those snakes writhing around your head oh it's anyone who looks at you Church just does what a kind of lonely and terrible existence and these writhing snakes that Bernini has left rather raw compared with the polish that he's depicted her face with it's true he's really smooth the face mom so it's got this bridge in kind of Sheen especially those lips which almost look wax to this tension between the monster that she is and as as humanity that suffers from that and the light in the shadow because of the drilling and the depth of the carving of the snakes around her face that's right that's right like like Michelangelo carving so deeply into the mouth even there's no need car that deeply except to create those shadows and thence contrast them between light and dark look at the depth of those brows the exaggeration of the nose and the lips and the chin and there's a kind of exaggeration in her expression there is which makes it all the more powerful all the more theatrical all the more baroque more poignant