A new statue was recently unveiled outside of a New York City courthouse, but this sculpture doesn’t depict a victory of justice.
Instead, the 7-foot bronze work shows an armed villain triumphantly holding the severed head of a hero from Greek mythology.
“Medusa with the Head of Perseus” was revealed Tuesday in Collect Pond Park, with the statue’s monstrous visage directly facing Manhattan’s New York County Criminal Court, according to WLNY-TV.
The statue portrays Medusa armed with a sword and holding the hero Perseus’ severed head.
In myth, the gorgon Medusa had snakes for hair and the power to turn mortals to stone with a single look. Perseus approached the monster by watching its reflection in a mirrored shield before killing it.
The sculpture is intended to be a reversal of the renowned 16th-century statue “Perseus with the Head of Medusa,” on display in Florence, Italy.
The work was explained by artist Luciano Garbati as a tribute to the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment that swept the United States in recent years.
Garbati originally created the work in 2008, according to Artnet News. After sharing another version of the piece a decade later, its popularity took off.
“Something in the sculpture has been captivating women’s attention,” he told Artnet, “which means that I have been able to capture in it some aspect of the feminine pathos.”
The placement of the statue facing the courthouse is no accident.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein, one of the most prominent figures to face justice during the #MeToo wave, was handed a rape conviction in the very same building.
Although the campaign to force accountability on abusers took down Weinstein and other elites, the furor behind the movement turned into a modern-day witch hunt against some.
Most prominently, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced false accusations during a Democrat-led insurgency against his nomination process.
Garbati’s reasons for choosing a monstrous villain, besides subverting a traditional scene, are still unclear.
History has numerous examples of real women standing up to injustices and fighting for the truth, and any of these would seemingly be a better fit for his message than a snake-haired creature from ancient mythology.
Thankfully, it appears this work of art will be a temporary addition to the courthouse scenery.
The statue will be displayed until April 2021, at which point it will be moved to a new location.
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