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Medusa was one of three sisters born to Phorcys and Ceto known as the Gorgons. According to Hesiod's Theogony, the Gorgons were the sisters of the Graiai and lived in the utmost place towards the night by the Hesperides beyond Oceanus. Later authors such as Herodotus and Pausanias place the Gorgons' abode in Libya. The Gorgon sisters were Sthenno, Euryale, and Medusa; Medusa was mortal while her sisters were immortal.

Beyond the Gorgon's birth, there is little mention of the Gorgons as a group, but Medusa has several myths about her life and death. The most famous of these myths concern her death and demise. In Hesiod's Theogony, he recounts how Perseus cut off the head of Medusa and from her blood sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, Chrysaor being a golden giant and Pegasus the famous white winged-horse.

Perseus & Medusa

The myth of Perseus and Medusa, according to Pindar and Apollodorus, started with a quest. Perseus was the son of Danae and Zeus, who came to Danae in the form of a golden spring. It was foretold to Danae's father, Acrisius the King of Argos, that Danae's son would kill him. So Acrisius locked his daughter away in a bronze chamber, but Zeus transformed into a shower of gold and impregnated her anyway. Acrisius, not wanting to provoke Zeus, hurled his daughter and grandson in a wooden chest into the sea. The mother and son were rescued by Dictys on the island of Seriphos. It was Dictys who raised Perseus to manhood, but it was Dictys' brother Polydectes, the king, who would send him on a life-threatening quest.

Polydectes fell in love with Perseus' mother and wished to marry her but Perseus was protective of his mother since he believed Polydectes to be dishonorable. Polydectes contrived to trick Perseus; he held a large banquet under the pretense of collecting contributions for the marriage of Hippodamia, who tamed horses. He requested that his guests bring horses for their gifts but Perseus did not have one. When Perseus confessed that he had no gift, he offered any gift the king would name. Polydectes seized his opportunity to disgrace and even get rid of Perseus and asked for the head of the only mortal Gorgon: Medusa.

Medusa was a formidable foe, since her hideous appearance was able to render any onlooker into stone.

Medusa was a formidable foe, since her hideous appearance was able to render any onlooker into stone. In some variations of the myth, Medusa was born a monster like her sisters, described as girded with serpents, vibrating tongues, gnashing their teeth, having wings, brazen claws, and enormous teeth. In later myths (mainly in Ovid) Medusa was the only Gorgon to possess snake locks, because they were a punishment from Athena. Accordingly, Ovid relates that the once beautiful mortal was punished by Athena with a hideous appearance and loathsome snakes for hair for having been raped in Athena's temple by Poseidon.

Perseus, with the aid of divine gifts, found the Gorgons' cave and slayed Medusa by beheading her. Most authors assert that Perseus was able to behead Medusa with a reflective bronze shield that Athena gave to him while the Gorgon slept. At the beheading of Medusa, Pegasus and Chrysaor (Poseidon's and her children) sprang from her severed neck. Simultaneously with the birth of these children, Medusa's sisters Euryale and Sthenno pursued Perseus. However, the gift bestowed upon him by Hades, the helmet of darkness, granted him invisibility. It is unclear if Perseus took Pegasus with him on his following adventures or if he continued to utilize the winged sandals Hermes gave him. Pegasus' adventures with both the hero Perseus and Bellerophon are classic tales from Greek mythology.

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Perseus now flew (either by Pegasus or winged sandals) with Medusa's head safely bagged, ever potent with its stony gaze. Perseus, on his journey home, stopped at Ethiopia where the kingdom of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia was being tormented by Poseidon's sea monster, Cetus. Poseidon's vengeance was being exacted on the kingdom for Cassiopeia's hubristic claim that her daughter, Andromeda, (or she herself) was equal in beauty to the Nereids. Perseus slew the beast and won Andromeda's hand. Andromeda was already betrothed, though, which caused a contestation to break out, resulting in Perseus using Medusa's head to turn her previous betrothed to stone.

Before his return to his home of Seriphos, Perseus met the titan Altas, who he turned to stone with Medusa's head after some quarrelsome words, thus creating the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. Also during the journey home, Medusa's head spilled some blood on the earth which formed into Libyan vipers that killed the Argonaut Mospos.

Perseus returned home to his mother, safe from King Polydectes' advances, but Perseus was infuriated with Polydectes' trickery. Perseus avenged himself by turning Polydectes and his court to stone with Medusa's head. He, then, gave the kingdom to Dictys. After Perseus was finished with the Gorgon's head, he gave it to Athena, who adorned her shield and breastplate with it.


The word Gorgon derives from the ancient Greek word "γοργός" meaning "fierce, terrible and grim." The Gorgons' names each have a particular meaning that helps to further describe their monstrousness. Sthenno from the ancient Greek "Σθεννω", is translated as "strength, might, or force," since it is related to the Greek word: σθένος. Euryale is from the ancient Greek "Ευρυαλη" meaning "broad, wide-stepping, wide threshing;" however her name may also mean "of the wide briny sea." This would be an appropriate name since she is the daughter of ancient sea deities, Phorcys and Ceto. Medusa's name comes from the ancient Greek verb "μέδω" which is translated as "to guard or protect." Medusa's name is extremely fitting as it is synonymous with what a Gorgon's head became representative of on Athena's shield.

Representations in Art

The Gorgon image appears in several pieces of art and architectural structures including the pediments of the Temple of Artemis (c. 580 BCE) in Corcyra (Corfu), the mid-6th century BCE, larger-than-life marble statue (that is now in the archaeological museum of Paros) and the celebrated cup by Douris. The Gorgon became a popular shield design in antiquity along with being an apotropaic (warding off evil) device. The goddess Athena and Zeus were often portrayed with a shield (or aegis) depicting the head of a Gorgon, who is typically believed to be Medusa.

There are also several archaeological examples of the Gorgon's face being used on breastplates, in mosaics and even as bronze end pieces on ship beams in the Roman period. Perhaps the most famous example of Medusa in art in antiquity was the Athena Parthenos statue from the Parthenon which was made by Phidias and described by Pausanias. This statue of Athena depicts a Gorgon's face on the goddess' breastplate. In Greek mythology there is, also, Hesiod's description of Hercules' shield which describes the events of Perseus and Medusa.

French frigate Méduse (1810)

Méduse was a 40-gun Pallas-class frigate of the French Navy, launched in 1810. She took part in the Napoleonic Wars during the late stages of the Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 and in raids in the Caribbean.

  • Nominally 40 guns
  • In practice carried either 44 or 46 guns:
  • Battery: 28 18-pounders & forecastle:
    • 8 × 8-pounder long guns
    • 8 × 36-pounder carronades or 12 × 18-pounder carronades

    In 1816, following the Bourbon Restoration, Méduse was armed en flûte to ferry French officials to the port of Saint-Louis, in Senegal, to formally re-establish French occupation of the colony under the terms of the First Peace of Paris. Through inept navigation by her captain, an incompetent émigré naval officer who was given command for political reasons, Méduse struck the Bank of Arguin off the coast of present-day Mauritania and became a total loss.

    Most of the 400 passengers on board evacuated, with 151 men forced to take refuge on an improvised raft towed by the frigate's launches. The towing proved impractical, however, and the boats soon abandoned the raft and its passengers in the open ocean. Without any means of navigating to shore, the situation aboard the raft rapidly turned disastrous. Dozens were washed into the sea by a storm, while others, drunk from wine, rebelled and were killed by officers. When supplies ran low, several injured men were thrown into the sea, and some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism. After 13 days at sea, the raft was discovered with only 15 men still alive. [1]

    News of the tragedy stirred considerable public emotion, making Méduse one of the most infamous shipwrecks of the Age of Sail. Two survivors, a surgeon and an officer, wrote a widely read book about the incident, and the episode was immortalised when Théodore Géricault painted The Raft of the Medusa, which became a notable artwork of French Romanticism.


    Legend states that Medusa was once a beautiful, avowed priestess of Athena who was cursed for breaking her vow of celibacy. She is not considered a goddess or Olympian, but some variations on her legend say she consorted with one.

    When Medusa had an affair with the sea god Poseidon, Athena punished her. She turned Medusa into a hideous hag, making her hair into writhing snakes and her skin was turned a greenish hue. Anyone who locked gaze with Medusa was turned into stone.

    The hero Perseus was sent on a quest to kill Medusa. He was able to defeat the Gorgon by lopping off her head, which he was able to do by fighting her reflection in his highly polished shield. He later used her head as a weapon to turn enemies to stone. An image of Medusa's head was placed on Athena's own armor or shown on her shield.


    The company that created the Medusa M47 is Phillips & Rodgers Inc., designed principally by Jonathan W. Philips Jr and Roger A. Hunziker, who produced a relatively small numbers of the hand gun in the late 1990s. [6] Jonathan W. Phillips was a gunsmith and he also worked as a computer scientist for NASA. He was mainly responsible for the designing of the cylinder, extractor and ejector mechanism as well as the system that is used for positioning the cartridges. He applied for two patents on February 3, 1993, for the “Ejector and cartridge positioner for revolvers” and the "Ejector and cartridge positioner". [7] He later filed for a patent that was called "Bore for weapons" on February 27, 1996, that outlines the rifling that the Medusa was going to use. [7] Roger A. Hunziker designed the firing pin mechanism for the Medusa. He filed for a patent on August 1, 1995, for the "Firing pin mechanism". [7] Phillips & Rodgers Inc. not only produced the Medusa M47 revolver but they also made several conversion cylinders for revolvers made by Smith & Wesson, Colt, and Ruger. [7] [ dead link ] Very few of these revolvers were actually produced.

    The firing pin mechanism was designed by Roger A. Hunziker. It is very similar to the system of Smith and Wesson revolvers. The firing pin is not a part of the hammer. Instead, it floats freely in the frame while under spring tension, so it does not rest against the primer of a cartridge. The hammer has a special feature: unless the trigger is squeezed, it will not be in contact with the firing pin. Instead, it rests a few millimeters back. There is also a transfer bar system between the hammer and firing pin. This allows the hammer to hit the firing pin only when the bar is up and the trigger is pulled.

    The design of the cylinder includes a spring-loaded tooth that extends into the chamber. When a rimmed cartridge is loaded, the tooth is pushed out of the way into the center of the cylinder by the cartridge and remains there until the round is extracted. The rim of the cartridge and the frame hold the round in place. When a rimless pistol cartridge is placed in the cylinder, there is no rim to stop the round from sliding down the chamber if it is not head spaced for that caliber. Thus, when the rimless cartridge is inserted, the tooth will be pushed down initially as the wall of the case slides in, but when the extraction groove near the base of the case is over the tooth, it will be pushed back out by spring pressure and catch the round. [8] The tooth will keep the cartridge from sliding out the front of the cylinder, and the back of the frame will keep it from sliding out the back.

    The cylinder is made of mil spec 4330 modified vanadium steel. The Medusa M47 is based on the Smith & Wesson’s K frame, which is one of the most common revolver frame sizes, especially for revolvers that are chambered in the 9mm, .38, and .357 family of calibers. The revolver is able to be fired in both double and single action. Revolvers of this size have been very popular with police and military groups as well as the civilian market due to its reasonable weight and dimensions. In order to handle the immense pressure of the various rounds the pistol can fire the frame has to be very strong. It is constructed of 8620 steel which is hardened to 28 Rockwell. [8] The barrel is composed of 4150 chromemoly steel. [ citation needed ] The barrel is also fluted, which may save some weight and speed up cooling of the barrel, but in practical terms these effects are minimal in a firearm so small, so the fluting is mostly for style.


    In June 1816, the French frigate Méduse departed from Rochefort, bound for the Senegalese port of Saint-Louis. She headed a convoy of three other ships: the storeship Loire, the brig Argus and the corvette Écho. Viscount Hugues Duroy de Chaumereys had been appointed captain of the frigate despite having scarcely sailed in 20 years. [6] [7] After the wreck, public outrage mistakenly attributed responsibility for his appointment to Louis XVIII, though his was a routine naval appointment made within the Ministry of the Navy and far outside the concerns of the monarch. [8] The frigate's mission was to accept the British return of Senegal under the terms of France's acceptance of the Peace of Paris. The appointed French governor of Senegal, Colonel Julien-Désiré Schmaltz, and his wife and daughter were among the passengers. [9]

    In an effort to make good time, the Méduse overtook the other ships, but due to poor navigation it drifted 160 kilometres (100 mi) off course. On 2 July, it ran aground on a sandbank off the West African coast, near today's Mauritania. The collision was widely blamed on the incompetence of De Chaumereys, a returned émigré who lacked experience and ability, but had been granted his commission as a result of an act of political preferment. [10] [11] [12] Efforts to free the ship failed, so, on 5 July, the frightened passengers and crew started an attempt to travel the 100 km (60 mi) to the African coast in the frigate's six boats. Although the Méduse was carrying 400 people, including 160 crew, there was space for only about 250 in the boats. The remainder of the ship's complement and half of a contingent of marine infantrymen intended to garrison Senegal [13] — at least 146 men and one woman — were piled onto a hastily built raft, that partially submerged once it was loaded. Seventeen crew members opted to stay aboard the grounded Méduse. The captain and crew aboard the other boats intended to tow the raft, but after only a few miles the raft was turned loose. [14] For sustenance the crew of the raft had only a bag of ship's biscuit (consumed on the first day), two casks of water (lost overboard during fighting) and six casks of wine. [15]

    According to critic Jonathan Miles, the raft carried the survivors "to the frontiers of human experience. Crazed, parched and starved, they slaughtered mutineers, ate their dead companions and killed the weakest." [10] [16] After 13 days, on 17 July 1816, the raft was rescued by the Argus by chance—no particular search effort was made by the French for the raft. [17] By this time only 15 men were still alive the others had been killed or thrown overboard by their comrades, died of starvation, or had thrown themselves into the sea in despair. [18] The incident became a huge public embarrassment for the French monarchy, only recently restored to power after Napoleon's defeat in 1815. [19] [20]

    The Raft of the Medusa portrays the moment when, after 13 days adrift on the raft, the remaining 15 survivors view a ship approaching from a distance. According to an early British reviewer, the work is set at a moment when "the ruin of the raft may be said to be complete". [21] The painting is on a monumental scale of 491 cm × 716 cm (193 in × 282 in), so that most of the figures rendered are life-sized [22] and those in the foreground almost twice life-size, pushed close to the picture plane and crowding onto the viewer, who is drawn into the physical action as a participant. [23]

    The makeshift raft is shown as barely seaworthy as it rides the deep waves, while the men are rendered as broken and in utter despair. One old man holds the corpse of his son at his knees another tears his hair out in frustration and defeat. A number of bodies litter the foreground, waiting to be swept away by the surrounding waves. The men in the middle have just viewed a rescue ship one points it out to another, and an African crew member, Jean Charles, [24] stands on an empty barrel and frantically waves his handkerchief to draw the ship's attention. [25]

    The pictorial composition of the painting is constructed upon two pyramidal structures. The perimeter of the large mast on the left of the canvas forms the first. The horizontal grouping of dead and dying figures in the foreground forms the base from which the survivors emerge, surging upward towards the emotional peak, where the central figure waves desperately at a rescue ship.

    The viewer's attention is first drawn to the centre of the canvas, then follows the directional flow of the survivors' bodies, viewed from behind and straining to the right. [22] According to the art historian Justin Wintle, "a single horizontal diagonal rhythm [leads] us from the dead at the bottom left, to the living at the apex." [26] Two other diagonal lines are used to heighten the dramatic tension. One follows the mast and its rigging and leads the viewer's eye towards an approaching wave that threatens to engulf the raft, while the second, composed of reaching figures, leads to the distant silhouette of the Argus, the ship that eventually rescued the survivors. [3]

    Géricault's palette is composed of pallid flesh tones, and the murky colours of the survivors' clothes, the sea and the clouds. [27] Overall the painting is dark and relies largely on the use of sombre, mostly brown pigments, a palette that Géricault believed was effective in suggesting tragedy and pain. [28] The work's lighting has been described as "Caravaggesque", [29] after the Italian artist closely associated with tenebrism—the use of violent contrast between light and dark. Even Géricault's treatment of the sea is muted, being rendered in dark greens rather than the deep blues that could have afforded contrast with the tones of the raft and its figures. [30] From the distant area of the rescue ship, a bright light shines, providing illumination to an otherwise dull brown scene. [30]

    Research and preparatory studies Edit

    Géricault was captivated by accounts of the widely publicised 1816 shipwreck, and realised that a depiction of the event might be an opportunity to establish his reputation as a painter. [31] Having decided to proceed, he undertook extensive research before he began the painting. In early 1818, he met with two survivors: Henri Savigny, a surgeon, and Alexandre Corréard, an engineer from the École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers. Their emotional descriptions of their experiences largely inspired the tone of the final painting. [21] According to the art historian Georges-Antoine Borias, "Géricault established his studio across from Beaujon hospital. And here began a mournful descent. Behind locked doors he threw himself into his work. Nothing repulsed him. He was dreaded and avoided." [32]

    Earlier travels had exposed Géricault to victims of insanity and plague, and while researching the Méduse his effort to be historically accurate and realistic led to an obsession with the stiffness of corpses. [11] To achieve the most authentic rendering of the flesh tones of the dead, [3] he made sketches of bodies in the morgue of the Hospital Beaujon, [31] studied the faces of dying hospital patients, [33] brought severed limbs back to his studio to study their decay, [31] [34] and for a fortnight drew a severed head, borrowed from a lunatic asylum and stored on his studio roof. [33]

    He worked with Corréard, Savigny and another of the survivors, the carpenter Lavillette, to construct an accurately detailed scale model of the raft, which was reproduced on the finished canvas, even showing the gaps between some of the planks. [33] Géricault posed models, compiled a dossier of documentation, copied relevant paintings by other artists, and went to Le Havre to study the sea and sky. [33] Despite suffering from fever, he travelled to the coast on a number of occasions to witness storms breaking on the shore, and a visit to artists in England afforded further opportunity to study the elements while crossing the English Channel. [28] [35]

    He drew and painted numerous preparatory sketches while deciding which of several alternative moments of the disaster he would depict in the final work. [36] The painting's conception proved slow and difficult for Géricault, and he struggled to select a single pictorially effective moment to best capture the inherent drama of the event.

    Among the scenes he considered were the mutiny against the officers from the second day on the raft, the cannibalism that occurred after only a few days, and the rescue. [37] Géricault ultimately settled on the moment, recounted by one of the survivors, when they first saw, on the horizon, the approaching rescue ship Argus—visible in the upper right of the painting—which they attempted to signal. The ship, however, passed by. In the words of one of the surviving crew members, "From the delirium of joy, we fell into profound despondency and grief." [37]

    To a public well-versed in the particulars of the disaster, the scene would have been understood to encompass the aftermath of the crew's abandonment, focusing on the moment when all hope seemed lost [37] —the Argus reappeared two hours later and rescued those who remained. [39]

    The author Rupert Christiansen points out that the painting depicts more figures than had been on the raft at the time of the rescue—including corpses which were not recorded by the rescuers. Instead of the sunny morning and calm water reported on the day of the rescue, Géricault depicted a gathering storm and dark, heaving sea to reinforce the emotional gloom. [33]

    Final work Edit

    Géricault, who had just been forced to break off a painful affair with his aunt, shaved his head and from November 1818 to July 1819 lived a disciplined monastic existence in his studio in the Faubourg du Roule, being brought meals by his concierge and only occasionally spending an evening out. [33] He and his 18-year-old assistant, Louis-Alexis Jamar, slept in a small room adjacent to the studio occasionally there were arguments and on one occasion Jamar walked off after two days Géricault persuaded him to return. In his orderly studio, the artist worked in a methodical fashion in complete silence and found that even the noise of a mouse was sufficient to break his concentration. [33]

    He used friends as models, most notably the painter Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), who modelled for the figure in the foreground with face turned downward and one arm outstretched. Two of the raft's survivors are seen in shadow at the foot of the mast [36] three of the figures were painted from life—Corréard, Savigny and Lavillette. Jamar posed nude for the dead youth shown in the foreground about to slip into the sea, and was also the model for two other figures. [33]

    Much later, Delacroix—who would become the standard-bearer of French Romanticism after Géricault's death—wrote, "Géricault allowed me to see his Raft of Medusa while he was still working on it. It made so tremendous an impression on me that when I came out of the studio I started running like a madman and did not stop till I reached my own room." [40] [41] [42] [43]

    Géricault painted with small brushes and viscous oils, which allowed little time for reworking and were dry by the next morning. He kept his colours apart from each other: his palette consisted of vermilion, white, naples yellow, two different yellow ochres, two red ochres, raw sienna, light red, burnt sienna, crimson lake, Prussian blue, peach black, ivory black, Cassel earth and bitumen. [33] Bitumen has a velvety, lustrous appearance when first painted, but over a period of time discolours to a black treacle, while contracting and thus creating a wrinkled surface, which cannot be renovated. [44] As a result of this, details in large areas of the work can hardly be discerned today. [23]

    Géricault drew an outline sketch of the composition onto the canvas. He then posed models one at a time, completing each figure before moving onto the next, as opposed to the more usual method of working over the whole composition. The concentration in this way on individual elements gave the work both a "shocking physicality" [26] and a sense of deliberate theatricality—which some critics consider an adverse effect. Over 30 years after the completion of the work, his friend Montfort recalled:

    [Géricault's method] astonished me as much as his intense industry. He painted directly on the white canvas, without rough sketch or any preparation of any sort, except for the firmly traced contours, and yet the solidity of the work was none the worse for it. I was struck by the keen attention with which he examined the model before touching brush to canvas. He seemed to proceed slowly, when in reality he executed very rapidly, placing one touch after the other in its place, rarely having to go over his work more than once. There was very little perceptible movement of his body or arms. His expression was perfectly calm . [33] [45]

    Working with little distraction, the artist completed the painting in eight months [28] the project as a whole took 18 months. [33]

    The Raft of the Medusa fuses many influences from the Old Masters, from the Last Judgment and Sistine Chapel ceiling of Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Raphael's Transfiguration, [46] to the monumental approach of Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) and Antoine-Jean Gros (1771–1835), to contemporary events. By the 18th century, shipwrecks had become a recognised feature of marine art, as well as an increasingly common occurrence as more journeys were made by sea. Claude Joseph Vernet (1714–1789) created many such images, [47] achieving naturalistic colour through direct observation—unlike other artists at that time—and was said to have tied himself to the mast of a ship in order to witness a storm. [48]

    Although the men depicted on the raft had spent 13 days adrift and suffered hunger, disease and cannibalism, Géricault pays tribute to the traditions of heroic painting and presents his figures as muscular and healthy. According to the art historian Richard Muther, there is still a strong debt to Classicism in the work. The fact that the majority of the figures are almost naked, he wrote, arose from a desire to avoid "unpictorial" costumes. Muther observes that there is "still something academic in the figures, which do not seem to be sufficiently weakened by privation, disease, and the struggle with death". [30]

    The influence of Jacques-Louis David can be seen in the painting's scale, in the sculptural tautness of the figures and in the heightened manner in which a particularly significant "fruitful moment"—the first awareness of the approaching ship—is described. [29] In 1793, David also painted an important current event with The Death of Marat. His painting had an enormous political impact during the time of the revolution in France, and it served as an important precedent for Géricault's decision to also paint a current event. David's pupil, Antoine-Jean Gros, had, like David, represented "the grandiosities of a school irredeemably associated with a lost cause", [50] but in some major works, he had given equal prominence to Napoleon and anonymous dead or dying figures. [37] [51] Géricault had been particularly impressed by the 1804 painting Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Victims of Jaffa, by Gros. [11]

    The young Géricault had painted copies of work by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758–1823), whose "thunderously tragic pictures" include his masterpiece, Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime, where oppressive darkness and the compositional base of a naked, sprawled corpse obviously influenced Géricault's painting. [44]

    The foreground figure of the older man may be a reference to Ugolino from Dante's Inferno—a subject that Géricault had contemplated painting—and seems to borrow from a painting of Ugolini by Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) that Géricault may have known from prints. In Dante, Ugolino is guilty of cannibalism, which was one of the most sensational aspects of the days on the raft. Géricault seems to allude to this through the borrowing from Fuseli. [52] An early study for The Raft of the Medusa in watercolour, now in the Louvre, is much more explicit, depicting a figure gnawing on the arm of a headless corpse. [53]

    Several English and American paintings including The Death of Major Pierson by John Singleton Copley (1738–1815)—also painted within two years of the event—had established a precedent for a contemporary subject. Copley had also painted several large and heroic depictions of disasters at sea which Géricault may have known from prints: Watson and the Shark (1778), in which a black man is central to the action, and which, like The Raft of the Medusa, concentrated on the actors of the drama rather than the seascape The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September 1782 (1791), which was an influence on both the style and subject matter of Géricault's work and Scene of a Shipwreck (1790s), which has a strikingly similar composition. [37] [54] A further important precedent for the political component was the works of Francisco Goya, particularly his The Disasters of War series of 1810–12, and his 1814 masterpiece The Third of May 1808. Goya also produced a painting of a disaster at sea, called simply Shipwreck (date unknown), but although the sentiment is similar, the composition and style have nothing in common with The Raft of the Medusa. It is unlikely that Géricault had seen the picture. [54]

    The Raft of the Medusa was first shown at the 1819 Paris Salon, under the title Scène de Naufrage (Shipwreck Scene), although its real subject would have been unmistakable for contemporary viewers. [33] The exhibition was sponsored by Louis XVIII and featured nearly 1,300 paintings, 208 sculptures and numerous other engravings and architectural designs. [11] Géricault's canvas was the star at the exhibition: "It strikes and attracts all eyes" (Le Journal de Paris). Louis XVIII visited three days before the opening and said: "Monsieur, vous venez de faire un naufrage qui n'en est pas un pour vous", [55] or "Monsieur Géricault, you've painted a shipwreck, but it's not one for you". [56] The critics were divided: the horror and "terribilità" of the subject exercised fascination, but devotees of classicism expressed their distaste for what they described as a "pile of corpses", whose realism they considered a far cry from the "ideal beauty" represented by Girodet's Pygmalion and Galatea, which triumphed the same year. Géricault's work expressed a paradox: how could a hideous subject be translated into a powerful painting, how could the painter reconcile art and reality? Marie-Philippe Coupin de la Couperie, a French painter and contemporary of Géricault, provided one answer: "Monsieur Géricault seems mistaken. The goal of painting is to speak to the soul and the eyes, not to repel." The painting had fervent admirers too, including French writer and art critic Auguste Jal, who praised its political theme, its liberal position–its advancement of the negro and critique of ultra-royalism–and its modernity. The historian Jules Michelet approved: "our whole society is aboard the raft of the Medusa". [3]

    Géricault had deliberately sought to be both politically and artistically confrontational. Critics responded to his aggressive approach in kind, and their reactions were either ones of revulsion or praise, depending on whether the writer's sympathies favoured the Bourbon or Liberal viewpoint. The painting was seen as largely sympathetic to the men on the raft, and thus by extension to the anti-imperial cause adopted by the survivors Savigny and Corréard. [21] The decision to place a black man at the pinnacle of the composition was a controversial expression of Géricault's abolitionist sympathies. The art critic Christine Riding has speculated that the painting's later exhibition in London was planned to coincide with anti-slavery agitation there. [58] According to art critic and curator Karen Wilkin, Géricault's painting acts as a "cynical indictment of the bungling malfeasance of France's post-Napoleonic officialdom, much of which was recruited from the surviving families of the Ancien Régime". [27]

    The painting generally impressed the viewing public, although its subject matter repelled many, thus denying Géricault the popular acclaim which he had hoped to achieve. [33] At the end of the exhibition, the painting was awarded a gold medal by the judging panel, but they did not give the work the greater prestige of selecting it for the Louvre's national collection. Instead, Géricault was awarded a commission on the subject of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he clandestinely offered to Delacroix, whose finished painting he then signed as his own. [33] Géricault retreated to the countryside, where he collapsed from exhaustion, and his unsold work was rolled up and stored in a friend's studio. [59]

    Géricault arranged for the painting to be exhibited in London in 1820, where it was shown at William Bullock's Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London, from 10 June until the end of the year, and viewed by about 40,000 visitors. [60] The reception in London was more positive than that in Paris, and the painting was hailed as representative of a new direction in French art. It received more positive reviews than when it was shown at the Salon. [61] In part, this was due to the manner of the painting's exhibition: in Paris it had initially been hung high in the Salon Carré—a mistake that Géricault recognised when he saw the work installed—but in London it was placed close to the ground, emphasising its monumental impact. There may have been other reasons for its popularity in England as well, including "a degree of national self-congratulation", [62] the appeal of the painting as lurid entertainment, [62] and two theatrical entertainments based around the events on the raft which coincided with the exhibition and borrowed heavily from Géricault's depiction. [63] From the London exhibition Géricault earned close to 20,000 francs, which was his share of the fees charged to visitors, and substantially more than he would have been paid had the French government purchased the work from him. [64] After the London exhibition, Bullock brought the painting to Dublin early in 1821, but the exhibition there was far less successful, in large part due to a competing exhibition of a moving panorama, "The Wreck of the Medusa" by the Marshall brothers firm, which was said to have been painted under the direction of one of the survivors of the disaster. [65]

    The Raft of the Medusa was championed by the curator of the Louvre, comte de Forbin who purchased it for the museum from Géricault's heirs after his death in 1824. The painting now dominates its gallery there. [19] The display caption tells us that "the only hero in this poignant story is humanity". [3]

    At some time between 1826 and 1830 American artist George Cooke (1793–1849) made a copy of the painting in a smaller size, (130.5 x 196.2 cm approximately 4 ft × 6 ft), which was shown in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C. to crowds who knew about the controversy surrounding the shipwreck. Reviews favoured the painting, which also stimulated plays, poems, performances and a children's book. [67] It was bought by a former admiral, Uriah Phillips, who left it in 1862 to the New York Historical Society, where it was miscatalogued as by Gilbert Stuart and remained inaccessible until the mistake was uncovered in 2006, after an enquiry by Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, a professor of art history at the University of Delaware. The university's conservation department undertook restoration of the work. [68]

    Because of deterioration in the condition of Géricault's original, the Louvre in 1859–60 commissioned two French artists, Pierre-Désiré Guillemet and Étienne-Antoine-Eugène Ronjat [fr] , to make a full size copy of the original for loan exhibitions. [66]

    In the autumn of 1939, the Medusa was packed for removal from the Louvre in anticipation of the outbreak of war. A scenery truck from the Comédie-Française transported the painting to Versailles in the night of 3 September. Some time later, the Medusa was moved to the Château de Chambord where it remained until after the end of the Second World War. [69]

    In its insistence on portraying an unpleasant truth, The Raft of the Medusa was a landmark in the emerging Romantic movement in French painting, and "laid the foundations of an aesthetic revolution" [70] against the prevailing Neoclassical style. Géricault's compositional structure and depiction of the figures are classical, but the contrasting turbulence of the subject represents a significant change in artistic direction and creates an important bridge between Neoclassical and Romantic styles. By 1815, Jacques-Louis David, then in exile in Brussels, was both the leading proponent of the popular history painting genre, which he had perfected, and a master of the Neoclassical style. [71] In France, both history painting and the Neoclassical style continued through the work of Antoine-Jean Gros, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, François Gérard, Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Pierre-Narcisse Guérin—teacher of both Géricault and Delacroix—and other artists who remained committed to the artistic traditions of David and Nicolas Poussin.

    In his introduction to The Journal of Eugène Delacroix, Hubert Wellington wrote about Delacroix's opinion of the state of French painting just prior to the Salon of 1819. According to Wellington, "The curious blend of classic with realistic outlook which had been imposed by the discipline of David was now losing both animation and interest. The master himself was nearing his end, and exiled in Belgium. His most docile pupil, Girodet, a refined and cultivated classicist, was producing pictures of astonishing frigidity. Gérard, immensely successful painter of portraits under the Empire—some of them admirable—fell in with the new vogue for large pictures of history, but without enthusiasm." [42]

    The Raft of the Medusa contains the gestures and grand scale of traditional history painting however, it presents ordinary people, rather than heroes, reacting to the unfolding drama. [72] Géricault's raft pointedly lacks a hero, and his painting presents no cause beyond sheer survival. The work represents, in the words of Christine Riding, "the fallacy of hope and pointless suffering, and at worst, the basic human instinct to survive, which had superseded all moral considerations and plunged civilised man into barbarism". [21]

    The unblemished musculature of the central figure waving to the rescue ship is reminiscent of the Neoclassical, however the naturalism of light and shadow, the authenticity of the desperation shown by the survivors and the emotional character of the composition differentiate it from Neoclassical austerity. It was a further departure from the religious or classical themes of earlier works because it depicted contemporary events with ordinary and unheroic figures. Both the choice of subject matter and the heightened manner in which the dramatic moment is depicted are typical of Romantic painting—strong indications of the extent to which Géricault had moved from the prevalent Neoclassical movement. [27]

    Hubert Wellington said that while Delacroix was a lifelong admirer of Gros, the dominating enthusiasm of his youth was for Géricault. The dramatic composition of Géricault, with its strong contrasts of tone and unconventional gestures, stimulated Delacroix to trust his own creative impulses on a large work. Delacroix said, "Géricault allowed me to see his Raft of Medusa while he was still working on it." [42] The painting's influence is seen in Delacroix's The Barque of Dante (1822) and reappears as inspiration in Delacroix's later works, such as The Shipwreck of Don Juan (1840). [70]

    According to Wellington, Delacroix's masterpiece of 1830, Liberty Leading the People, springs directly from Géricault's The Raft of the Medusa and Delacroix's own Massacre at Chios. Wellington wrote that "While Géricault carried his interest in actual detail to the point of searching for more survivors from the wreck as models, Delacroix felt his composition more vividly as a whole, thought of his figures and crowds as types, and dominated them by the symbolic figure of Republican Liberty which is one of his finest plastic inventions." [73]
    The art and sculpture historian Albert Elsen believed that The Raft of the Medusa and Delacroix's Massacre at Chios provided the inspiration for the grandiose sweep of Auguste Rodin's monumental sculpture The Gates of Hell. He wrote that "Delacroix's Massacre at Chios and Géricault's Raft of the Medusa confronted Rodin on a heroic scale with the innocent nameless victims of political tragedies . If Rodin was inspired to rival Michelangelo's Last Judgment, he had Géricault's Raft of the Medusa in front of him for encouragement." [74]

    While Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) could be described as an anti-Romantic painter, his major works like A Burial at Ornans (1849–50) and The Artist's Studio (1855) owe a debt to The Raft of the Medusa. The influence is not only in Courbet's enormous scale, but in his willingness to portray ordinary people and current political events, [76] and to record people, places and events in real, everyday surroundings. The 2004 exhibition at the Clark Art Institute, Bonjour Monsieur Courbet: The Bruyas Collection from the Musee Fabre, Montpellier, sought to compare the 19th-century Realist painters Courbet, Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), and early Édouard Manet (1832–1883) with artists associated with Romanticism, including Géricault and Delacroix. Citing The Raft of the Medusa as an instrumental influence on Realism, the exhibition drew comparisons between all of the artists. [77] The critic Michael Fried sees Manet directly borrowing the figure of the man cradling his son for the composition of Angels at the Tomb of Christ. [78]

    The influence of The Raft of the Medusa was felt by artists beyond France. Francis Danby, a British painter born in Ireland, probably was inspired by Géricault's picture when he painted Sunset at Sea after a Storm in 1824, and wrote in 1829 that The Raft of the Medusa was "the finest and grandest historical picture I have ever seen". [79]

    The subject of marine tragedy was undertaken by J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), who, like many English artists, probably saw Géricault's painting when it was exhibited in London in 1820. [80] [81] His A Disaster at Sea (c. 1835) chronicled a similar incident, this time a British catastrophe, with a swamped vessel and dying figures also placed in the foreground. Placing a person of color in the centre of the drama was revisited by Turner, with similar abolitionist overtones, in his The Slave Ship (1840). [80]

    The Gulf Stream (1899), by the American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910), replicates the composition of The Raft of the Medusa with a damaged vessel, ominously surrounded by sharks and threatened by a waterspout. Like Géricault, Homer makes a black man the pivotal figure in the scene, though here he is the vessel's sole occupant. A ship in the distance mirrors the Argus from Géricault's painting. [82] The move from the drama of Romanticism to the new Realism is exemplified by the stoic resignation of Homer's figure. [83] The man's condition, which in earlier works might have been characterised by hope or helplessness, has turned to "sullen rage". [82]

    In the early 1990s, sculptor John Connell, in his Raft Project, a collaborative project with painter Eugene Newmann, recreated The Raft of the Medusa by making life-sized sculptures out of wood, paper and tar and placing them on a large wooden raft. [84]

    Remarking on the contrast between the dying figures in the foreground and the figures in the mid-ground waving towards the approaching rescue ship, the French art historian Georges-Antoine Borias wrote that Géricault's painting represents, "on the one hand, desolation and death. On the other, hope and life." [85]

    For Kenneth Clark, The Raft of the Medusa "remains the chief example of romantic pathos expressed through the nude and that obsession with death, which drove Géricault to frequent mortuary chambers and places of public execution, gives truth to his figures of the dead and the dying. Their outlines may be taken from the classics, but they have been seen again with a craving for violent experience." [46]

    Today, a bronze bas-relief of The Raft of the Medusa by Antoine Étex adorns Géricault's grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. [86]

    Story of Medusa and its relevance

    According to the legend, Medusa was a beautiful woman and caught the eyes of Poseidon. Due to a long-time feud between Poseidon and Athena, he wanted to defile the latter’s temple.

    Poseidon persuaded Medusa, and both performed the act at Athena’s altar. Furious, Athena exacted her revenge by turning Medusa (an evident show of male chauvinism and patriarchy) into a snake-haired monster, albeit a mortal one, who was grotesque enough to turn beholders into stone.

    Perseus, son of Zeus and mortal queen Danaë, was on the quest to slay Medusa to save his mother from the clutches of King Polydectes who coveted her.

    Gods favored him by providing with five objects to overcome his ordeal — a knapsack to hold Medusa’s head Hermes’s winged sandals Hades’s helm of darkness (for invisibility) Zeus’s adamantine sword and a highly reflective bronze shield from Athena.

    My Theory

    So for now, here’s my theory about the origins of the Medusa story:

    Mythology is a way extraordinary concepts and phenomena can be explained in a somewhat relatable way. It’s not necessarily meant to be taken literally, but rather viewed as a symbol for an idea that is important enough that it should be remembered.

    So what does Medusa symbolize in Greek mythology? A hideous, snake-headed, rape victim whom not even the Gods have mercy on. She’s so evil and so menacing to look at that even one glance can turn you to stone. In the mythology she used to be beautiful, desired by all who laid eyes on her only in the end to become just a target for bounty hunters who want to kill her.

    Now if you can, unpackage the white supremacist perspective of this mythology. If you were a Caucasian from a Greek civilization trying to create a story, or mythology that is to be used by future generations with genetic survival amongst the melanated masses as a primary objective, what would you say?

    I’d imagine even the least intellectual amongst the white people in early Greek civilizations were aware of the genetic threat of ‘race mixing’ with melanated people. They knew if they maintained a pattern of interracial relationships at some point, there would no longer be a such thing as ‘white people’. So for those members of the society who took it upon themselves to implement strategies for the genetic survival of the caucasian collective, it became a matter of life and death to exterminate any desire within the caucasian collective to have intercourse with melanated people.

    The foreigners, whom had little to no value put on their own women, were probably in absolute awe of an African Priestess. To them, the mystic nature of Africans was already mind boggling, but seeing a beautiful African Priestess in a position of supreme confidence and spiritual power was too much to handle. So much so, they would have no choice but to turn to stone. She was too beautiful to look away from and too powerful to resist. Not only that, but being unaware of the nature of afro-textured hair left them unable to describe locs or dreadlocks as anything other than ‘snakes’.

    So if this black woman is a threat to the genetic survival of caucasians then how do you convince all future generations of caucasian males to avoid this black woman by any means, at any cost? Mythology. Also known as Generational Propaganda.

    The naturally beautiful, spiritual, holistic, and biologically supreme melanated woman becomes the hideous and undesirable monster whom if ever was found should be killed before you even look at her.

    Does this sound familiar? The rhetoric about black women being ‘hideous and undesirable’ stems from caucasian crafted propaganda such as the stories like Medusa.


    Medusa is a character in Greek mythology. Her story has been told and retold by ancient and modern storytellers, writers, and artists.

    The Latin poet Ovid writes in Book IV of his Metamorphoses that Poseidon had raped Medusa in the temple of Athena. The goddess was outraged, and changed Medusa into a monster with snakes for hair.

    Medusa has been depicted in the visual arts for centuries. Many interpretations surround the myth, including one by Sigmund Freud. For the ancients, an image of Medusa's head was a device for averting evil. This image was called a Gorgoneion. The Gorgoneion was very scary and made all the children cry, but worked only against Medusa and not her sisters.

    Medusa was one of three sisters. They were known as The Gorgons. Medusa's sisters were Stheno and Euryale. Medusa was mortal, but her sisters were immortal. They were all children of the sea deities, Phorkys and his sister Keto. Before they were monsters, all three sisters were beautiful young women, particularly Medusa however, she was a priestess in the temple of Athena and was bound by a vow of celibacy.

    Any man or animal who looked directly upon her was turned to stone.

    The hero Perseus beheaded Medusa by viewing her reflection in his burnished shield. After using the dreadful head to defeat his enemies, he presented it to Athena and she put it on her shield.

    Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon at the time of her death. Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a golden giant, sprang from her blood.

    Medusa was a subject for ancient vase painters, mosaicists, and sculptors. She appears on the breastplate of Alexander the Great in the Alexander Mosaic at the House of the Faun in Pompeii, Italy (about 200 BC).

    A Roman copy of Phidias' Medusa (left) is held in the Glyptothek in Munich, Germany.

    Among the Renaissance depictions are the sculpture Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini (1554) and the oil painting Medusa by Caravaggio (1597).

    Baroque depictions include Head of Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens (1618) the marble bust Medusa by Bernini (1630s) and Perseus Turning Phineus and his Followers to Stone, an oil painting by Luca Giordano from the (early 1680s).

    Romantic and modern depictions include Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Antonio Canova (1801) and Perseus, a sculpture by Salvador Dalí. Twentieth century artists whno tackled the Medusa theme include Paul Klee, John Singer Sargent, Pablo Picasso, Pierre et Gilles, and Auguste Rodin.

    MEDUSA is based on a platform-independent kernel which, combined with a platform-independent user interface based on the Qt (framework) (with XML for Administration and Web-based client-server communication for data management) allows for a high degree of systems and platform flexibility. The software is available on Windows, Linux and Solaris.

    The 4th Generation of the MEDUSA 2D and 3D CAD product family was released by the company CAD Schroer in the summer of 2004. Various software modules and packages have been developed, with MEDUSA4 DRAFTING PLUS, a 2D CAD program with all the standard 2D design functionality and BACIS1 and BACIS2 customisation tools as the base product.

    Background – Cambridge origins: 1967 till 1977 Edit

    MEDUSA has had a checkered history in the CAD world, which began in Cambridge, UK in the 1970s. MEDUSA’s history [2] is tied in with the Computer-Aided Design Centre (or CADCentre) which was created in Cambridge in 1967 by the UK Government to carry out CAD research.

    British computer scientist Dr. Dick Newell worked there on a language-driven 3D plant design system called PDMS (Plant Design Management System).

    Medusa a product of CIS: 1977 till 1983 Edit

    In 1977, Dr. Dick Newell together with colleague Tom Sancha, left the CADCentre to form a company called Cambridge Interactive Systems or CIS and primarily concentrated on 2D CAD. CIS had developed an electrical cabling solution initially called CABLOS, which was first purchased by Dowty Engineering in about 1979. Another early adopter was BMW, which used the system for car wiring diagrams. CABLOS soon became known and sold as the MEDUSA drafting system under CIS concentrating initially on schematic drafting. A 2D interaction based 3D modelling system was developed based on a 3rd party 3D engine (Euclid). This used an interaction mechanism embedded in 2D drawings of a form which was meaningful to designers and which could benefit from existing parametric facilities to provide parametric 3D modelling. The proprietary programming language with which MEDUSA version 1 was developed was known as LCIS. Around this time, the company also began developing its own 3D modelling kernel for MEDUSA.

    Around 1980, CIS partnered with Prime Computer (also known as PR1ME and PRUNE), a U.S.-based computer hardware provider. Prime had an option on the MEDUSA source code should CIS ever fail.

    Split – Computervision / Prime Computers product: 1983 till 1987 Edit

    In 1983 the U.S. CAD company Computervision (CV) purchased CIS. Computervision already had a legacy CAD product called CADDS4, but was interested in obtaining some of the state-of-the-art MEDUSA technology.

    At the time, MEDUSA was available on the then newly released 32bit so-called super mini computers, whose most prominent distributors were DEC (VAX) and Prime Computer.

    In 1984 there was a fork in MEDUSA: Prime took its option to keep developing MEDUSA. This in effect created two different versions of MEDUSA: CIS MEDUSA (owned by Computervision, which ran on Prime and VAX minicomputers and later on Sun workstations) and Prime MEDUSA (which ran on Prime minicomputers and was later made available on Sun workstations as well). The file format of the two versions drifted apart, as did the command syntax and therefore macro language, as the two versions were developed in slightly different directions.

    In Germany in the mid 1980s one MEDUSA workplace with a CV colour graphics terminal and a 19 inch colour screen including the software license cost around 145,000 German Marks (DM). The central computer would cost as much again. Because of the high costs involved, many companies deploying CAD systems reverted to shift work for design staff to make best use of the systems. The first shift might run from six in the morning until two in the afternoon the second from two until ten o’clock in the evening.

    Product of Prime Computers: 1987 till 1992 Edit

    The split in MEDUSA development was merged when Prime Computers bought Computervision, with the promise to CV customers that VAX users would not be forced to switch to Prime workstations. This exercise took significantly longer than suggested by initial marketing statements and the elapsed time consumed represented a period in which the software failed to move forward at all. Furthermore, many users did not trust the siren’s song that all would be well.

    The combined effect was that many users changed their CAD system. This was at a time when the PC-based AutoCAD software was becoming successful and offered all the basic 2D design functionality on a PC at a fraction the cost per workstation of the "super mini" or SUN networks. Eventually only those users who used MEDUSA well beyond its 2D capabilities and had it well integrated into their manufacturing processes remained with Prime/CV.

    MEDUSA software continued to support the transition from “super minis” to remote workstations, and in the 1990s, the Unix workstations from Sun Microsystems were a popular option for the CAD package.

    Prime was divided into the two main divisions: Prime Hardware, which was responsible for the proprietary computer hardware, and Prime Computervision, which was responsible for the CAD/CAM business with MEDUSA and CADDS.

    Rebranded Computervision product: 1992 till 1998 Edit

    With falling hardware sales Prime eventually stopped production of PrimOS computers and transferred its maintenance obligations to another company, thus being able to concentrate on the CAD/CAM software business. The company was renamed from Prime Computervision to Computervision (CV). Computervision’s main research and development centre for MEDUSA was at Harston Mill near Cambridge, where many of the development staff had been working on the software since the CIS days. When the company retrenched and moved its operations to Boston, USA in 1994, much of the programming was moved to India, so five former CV staff members with many decades of MEDUSA experience between them formed the software development company Quintic Ltd in Cambridge, which continued to provide MEDUSA development services to CV, and consultancy and customisation services to MEDUSA customers in the UK.

    PTC: 1998 till 2001 Edit

    In 1998, CV was taken over by Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). The development partnership with Quintic also transferred. After years of relative stagnation in the development of MEDUSA NG (Next Generation), there was a new push to launch the new release. MEDUSA NG was the first release to move from tablet-driven design to an icon tray and menu-based graphical user interface but at that time it was still possible to use the tablet with MEDUSA.

    Under PTC's auspices, a new project, code-named "Pegasus" was launched. This was to develop a 2D drafting companion for Pro/ENGINEER based on the MEDUSA technology.

    CAD Schroer: 2001 till date Edit

    In 2001, PTC sold all rights to the MEDUSA software to CAD Schroer, MEDUSA's biggest reseller in Germany. CAD Schroer, which started as a drafting bureau in 1986, was an active MEDUSA user and had developed a number of add-ons for the software. Thus MEDUSA was now owned by a company that had grown up with the product. The development partnership with Quintic also transferred to CAD Schroer.

    Under CAD Schroer, project Pegasus became the STHENO/PRO software, which was first launched in 2002.

    The Fourth generation of MEDUSA, known as MEDUSA4, was launched in 2004. It included a comprehensive revamp of the functionality, the development of a Qt-based GUI, extensive interfaces and integrations with third party systems and data formats, as well as porting to Linux.

    In 2005, CAD Schroer acquired its software development partner Quintic and founded CAD Schroer UK in Cambridge, MEDUSA’s home town.

    The company continues to develop and support the software.

    • MPDS4: The MEDUSA4 PLANT DESIGN SYSTEM, a hybrid 2D/3D plant design and factory layout software suite with various modules covering all plant design disciplines and 3D visualisation software
    • MEDEA: The MEDUSA Electrical Design Application
    • MEDRaster Colour: Module for integrating and editing colour or monochrome raster data, such as scanned legacy drawings or photographs, into CAD designs
    • MEDInfo: Web-based engineering information and document management for MEDUSA4
    • CADParts: Standard CAD parts library with optional update service
    • MEDUSA4 3D PLUS: Sheet-based 3D modelling with optional Digital Terrain Modeller
    • MEDUSA4 PARAMETRICS: Extensive parametrics functionality for design process automation
    • MEDUSA4 SHEET METAL DESIGN: Powerful and flexible design of sheet metal parts
    • MEDUSA4 P&ID: The complete solution for creating intelligent process and instrumentation diagrams
    • MEDPro: MEDUSA4 and Pro/ENGINEER integration
    • MEDLink: MEDUSA4 and Windchill PDMLink integration
    • MED2SAP: MEDUSA4 and mySAP PLM integration
    • MED2TC: MEDUSA4 and Teamcenter integration
    • CADConvert Pro: Advanced DXF/DWG interface

    MEDUSA4 Personal, launched by CAD Schroer in 2006, is a free 2D/3D CAD software for private use, which can be downloaded from the CAD Schroer website. Users have to register to receive a free 12-month license, which can be extended in perpetuity. MEDUSA4 Personal is a fully functional version which includes many features of the MEDUSA4 ADVANCED package (e.g. SMART Edit, basic 3D) as well as some additional add-on modules, such as the MEDRaster Colour image editing module, SMD Sheet Metal Design, and Parametrics. It is a multi-platform system available for Windows and several Linux distributions.

    Limitations Edit

    • Print with watermark
    • Separate sheet format
    • Free node-locked license is limited to 12 months, but renewable

    Sheet conversion to PDF/DXF/SHE for commercial use Edit

    In August 2009, CAD Schroer introduced an eSERVICES portal, which allows users of the free version of MEDUSA4 to convert the sheets created with MEDUSA4 Personal into PDFs, DXFs or MEDUSA4 Professional SHE files on a pay-per-conversion basis. The converted drawings appear without a watermark and are fully licensed for commercial use.

    From the 1980s there was a very active community of MEDUSA users in Germany. This MEDUSER Association discussed issues of software use, development, CAD/CAM data integration and database connectivity and developed concepts and demands put forward to the various software owners. MEDUSA forums have recently been revived with growing numbers of new users. There also continues to be a hard core of MEDUSA users who have deployed the system for over two decades.


    The Medusa Cultural Resource Information System was created in 2014 from an application, also termed Medusa, developed for use by consultants and staff at the Maryland Historical Trust Library.

    Medusa was developed by MHT staff in the Office of Research, Survey, and Registration (ORSR), including now-retired Chief Archaeologist/GIS Coordinator Maureen Kavanagh, Cultural Resource Information Manager Greg Brown, Historic Preservation Information System Specialist Jen Chadwick-Moore, Archaeological Registrar Jennifer Cosham, Data Specialist Mary Kate Mansius, and Administrator of Library Services Mary Louise de Sarran. Inventory Registrars Barbara Sheppard, Caroline Warner, and Casey Pecoraro oversaw the development of the architectural resource aspect, with the assistance of architectural historians Marcia Miller (Chief of ORSR) and Heather Barrett (Administrator, Survey & Research). The archaeological aspect was developed with the assistance of Chief Archaeologist Dennis Curry, Research Archaeologist Matt McKnight, State Terrestrial Archaeologist Charles Hall, State Underwater Archaeologist Susan Langley, and Assistant State Underwater Archaeologist Troy Nowak. The Compliance staff at MHT patiently shaped the data input and resource review functions thanks to, among others, Beth Cole, Amanda Apple, Jonathan Sager, Dixie Henry, Tim Tamburrino, and Natalie Loukianoff.

    The new map-based application was created by MDP Information Services Manager Ted Cozmo, with the help of the MDP Applications Development team. We appreciate the hard work of the database and interface development team in Applications Development at the Maryland Department of Planning: Doug Lyford, Greg Schuster, and Debbie Czerwinski. We also appreciate the database development work of Carmen Swann, Jennifer Falkinburg, and several others in related departments.

    The project has benefited from the input of the local consulting community, who provided "wish lists" of features which will be gradually added to improve the product. We appreciate the advice of other state historical preservation offices, particularly Noel Stratton of Pennsylvania’s CRGIS ( and Jolene Smith, Quatro Hubbard, Carey Jones, and Karen Hostettler of Virginia’s V-CRIS (

    The project was funded by several grants. Medusa has benefited from the continued support of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), including several data development grants during the past two decades. A major grant from the National Park Service program Preserve America, titled Improving Public Access to Maryland's Inventory of Historic Properties, funded much of the development of the online database.

    Data development work was also done with the help of grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Jan 1993-Sept 1994) the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) (July 1995-Dec 1996) the National Park Service Center for Preservation Technology and Training (Dec 1996-June 1998) the Federal Highway Administration (Jan 1999-June 2004 and July 2004-Dec 2007) Preserve America (June 2010-Dec 2011) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program (June 2001-Sept 2012).