Rembrandt Paints Andromeda Chained to the Rocks

Andromeda Chained to the Rock was painted by Rembrandt in 1631.

Currently this work resides in Mauritshuis, in The Hague.

Andromeda represents Rembrandt's first full length mythological female nude and is taken from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. This story is about an Ethiopian princess who, as punishment for her mother's boasting, was chained to a rock to be sacrificed to a sea monster that was tormenting the Ethiopian people. Many preceding artists such as Titian have depicted this story by showing Andromeda, her rescuer Perseus, and the sea monster all in the same composition. In this work, Rembrandt shies away from Classical conventions by isolating Andromeda, showing her not as a muscular beauty but as a frightened naturalistic looking girl. This painting is an example of Rembrandt's rejection of the composite beauty. Since he did not believe true beauty existed naturally, he painted women as he saw them; naturally imperfect and flawed.

Rembrandt's subsequent nude mythological paintings from this period Diana Bathing and Danaë show his evolving portrayal of the nude.

Andromeda was a princess from Greek mythology who, as divine punishment for her mother's bragging, was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. She was saved from death by Perseus, her future husband. Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek Ανδρομέδη (Andromédē). The etymology of the name is "to think of a man," from ανδρός (andros) "man" combined with μήδομαι (mēdomai) "to think, to be mindful of."