Red K Elders



December 2021

“Why does this Medusa have a sweet, pretty face? I thought she was a monster?”

Ah Medusa Medusa… 

Most fair amongst the Gorgons
Your sisters were monsters with snakes for hair
But you, you were a mortal…

Medusa was originally a glorious golden-haired maiden, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, who lived “beyond famed Oceanus at the world’s edge hard by Night”. She was known for her kindness and incredible beauty, yet she devoted herself to a life of celibacy in the name of her goddess Athena. Medusa served as a priestess in the temple of the Goddess of wisdom and battle, where she was spied by Poseidon, God of the Sea. Poseidon was mesmerised by her beauty. However, as a loyal priestess to the Goddess, Medusa rejected Poseidon. Not one to take no for an answer, Poseidon crashed in in waves and took what he wanted anyway, on the steps of Athena’s temple.

Athena was so incensed by this transgression that she banished Medusa, making her a hideous monster, whose gaze would turn anyone to stone.

There are some interesting alternative thoughts about this - that Athena was actually protecting her devotee so that she would never be violated in such a way again, and anyone who dared to gaze upon her with desire would reap disastrous consequence.

Medusa’s destiny was also to suffer a second time in the famous myth of Perseus, who beheads her in his bid to save his mother from marrying King Polydectes. The winged horse Pegasus springs forth from her severed neck, and in the Theogony, Hesiod also mentions that the golden giant Chrysaor, was born too from this wound, with a golden sword in his hand. As Perseus returns across the plains of Libya, blood dripping from Medusa’s falls to the ground and each drop transforms into venomous serpents.

Ultimately, Medusa’s head is returned to her beloved Athena, who wears it on her aegis whenever she goes into battle.

Medusa once had charms; to gain her love 

A rival crowd of envious lovers strove. 

They, who have seen her, own, they ne'er did trace

More moving features in a sweeter face. 

Yet above all, her length of hair, they own, 

In golden ringlets wav'd, and graceful shone.

– Ovid, Metamorphoses

I was surprised by the sweet face that crept out from the shadows too, in my drawing. I thought that later it may change, but as I worked countless hours with the snakes, she began to reveal herself. This Medusa is who she truly is. The beauty behind the terror. The angel inside the demon. The pure one at the heart of all of us, behind the imperfections, the violence, the monsters we sometimes are.

graphite on paper, Dec 21


O nether and nocturnal, and infernal,

Goddess of dark, quiet and frightful one,

O you who have your meal amid the graves,

Night, Darkness, broad Chaos: Necessity

Hard to escape are you; you’re Moira and

Erinys, torment, Justice and Destroyer,

And you keep Kerberos in chains, with scales

Of serpents are you dark, O you with hai
Of serpents, serpent-girded, who drink blood,

Who bring death and destruction, and who feast

On hearts, flesh eater, who devour those dead

Untimely, and you who make grief resound

And spread madness, come to my sacrifices

- From Prayer to Selene for any spell

PGM IV. 2855-2869 trs. Betz


Beautiful quality fine art print from original pencil drawing.

272 x 324mm
on 297 x 420 mm paper.
(white border all round, with larger border at bottom)

Printed on heavyweight 315gsm archival watercolour paper,
with Epson UltraChrome HD inks.

Signed and editioned and backed with board in a transparent sleeve.

Limited edition of 200 ONLY

All large prints come beautifully wrapped in tissue and ribbon, in a robust flat card pack. Can be shipped worldwide with a hand written gift message included.


With gratitude for photographic reference, with kind permission:
Model and photographer: Vilidian Vilks -