The Guide

Sara Keating: Taking a fresh look at mythology through Medusa’s eyes

The third Classics Now festival, celebrating the enduring legacy of classical literature and philosophy, puts women to the fore

Shield with Head of Medusa: striking work by an unknown artist at the National Gallery of Ireland

In Room 23 of the National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square in Dublin, the face of a woman glares at you as you enter. With her ghoulish grimace and snakelike coils of hair, this 17th-century piece by an unknown Italian artist is the most arresting piece in the room.

A short interpretative text tells us that the portrait on the painted shield is that of the Greek mythological figure Medusa, but many a viewer ...