Perseus and his mission to kill the Medusa was one of the most renowned ancient legends in the Victorian era. Perseus, the son of Danaë and Zeus, was ordered to fetch the head of the Gorgon Medusa, whose magical power caused all who saw it to be turned to stone.
Perseus is shown riding here on a winged horse, carrying the Medusa’s head. He has come to the rescue of Andromeda, who is chained to a rock as sacrifice to Poseidon, God of the Sea. Leighton has infused drama in the scene. Perseus’s arrow has just struck the dragon whose body continues to ensnare Andromeda.