Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908)
“Medusa” (c. 1854)
Located in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
At a time when less than 1% of American women went to college, Hosmer studied anatomy and moved to Rome to study sculpture. In 1858 she established her own sculpture studio in Rome, leading a team of more than twenty men. Hosmer often depicted strong female figures; such as Medusa, who in Greek Mythology was a beautiful woman that was transformed into a Gorgon, a creature with snakes for hair, whose gaze turned those who looked at her to stone. Hosmer’s compassionate rendering shows Medusa’s transformation in progress, snakes intertwined with her lovely hair.