Medusa: the Greek woman with eyes that’ll turn a man straight to stone, and hair full of snakes. A powerful woman, whom many would’ve thought of often since childhood, remains a source of mystery and intrigue. Inking Medusa on your body is sure to fend off those that would seek to do you wrong.
Medusa are known to have a head of woman with snake writhing around her head. She is a Greek mythological figure who was once a beautiful maiden. She was one of three sisters, Medusa, Stheno and Euryale and was a priestess in the court of Athena. There are some differing reports on Medusa depending on whether your reading about her from the Greeks point of view or the Roman viewpoint. The Greeks described the three sisters as horrifically ugly and awful creatures. They were mean and pretty evil spirited although the Romans-specifically the poet Ovid-created her into a beautiful single maiden. She is thought to have had her hair turned into snakes thanks to Athena’s jealous reaction to Poseidon marrying her. Athena changed her beauty into ugliness and if someone even looked at Medusa, they immediately turned to stone. She then ran away from home because she was so upset by her appearance. She was impregnated by Poseidon much to Athena’s chagrin and then later beheaded by a suitor named Perseus. When she was killed, a horse left from her body. As you can see, it was pure chaos back then! It’s a tragically awful tale of evil and untamed yearnings and lost hopes and dreams.
There’s quite a bit of variation in her eyes as you’ll see in the work below. Sometimes it looks as if all the anger in the world is being unleashed through her eyes and then in other instances it’s as if your heart breaks for her heartbreak. There’s quite a bit of fodder that surrounds the Medusa character. Everyone from Sigmund Freud to the feminist movement to Versace have taken an interest in this compelling character.
Medusa artwork is not known to be the highest caliber although it is certainly popular in some circles. The following are an assortment of Medusa pieces that are both colorful and vivid. They are thought provoking and cause you to wonder what the deeper meaning could signify. Look at each piece and evaluate for yourself what you think they mean.
Do men or women get this artwork?
In the past, men have been known to get this art done but it’s become more and more popular recently for women to get it too. It holds quite a bit of symbolism in it and can be used to represent a lot of things in a person’s life. It can represent lost dreams, hopes that are no more and a myriad of other possibilities.
What colors are most popular?
Dark colors are often associated with this image because she is a dark and foreboding character. We’ve provided quite a few different looks and color schemes. You’ll see a variety of options and all of them look really good. It’s up to you on what looks best on your skin. In her mythological state, Medusa was known to have a green face and red-orange hair. When you looked closer at her hair, you realized they were red coiling snakes. The calamity that Athena brought down on Medusa made her an ugly woman that had snakes coming out of her head. You’ll see in the pictures below that there is a wide range of portraits of Medusa’s face as well as the coloring of her skin and the color of the snakes.
Where’s the best placement for Medusa Tattoos?
The forearm, leg and back are top places for this particular tattoo. It depends on the look you are going for. If you want it exposed so that everyone can view it then choosing a spot that is more visible may be the best option for you.
What’s the backstory of Medusa and what do the tattoos symbolize?
- This black and white image causes the onlooker to do a double take at the eyes. They are ominous and empty and so evil looking. It almost looks like a black and white photograph. Her face appears grainy which is probably meant to really heighten her plight of misery.
2. This is an example of a female who has the Medusa body art. The snakes are colored blue and the shading here is very well done. The swirling bodies of the snakes and her empty eyes creates a haunting depiction of this mythological character.
3. When you initially look at this art, it appears to warped and evil. Upon closer inspection, do you notice how Medusa appears scared and almost like she is out of control? We wonder if the snakes are in charge or if she is? It’s as if she’s at a complete loss for the way her life is going. Thanks to Athena, Medusa was no longer a temple priestess but instead an outcast amongst those closest to her. There’s significant imagery here that can be relatable to many people and different circumstances they are dealing with in their own life.
4. These snakes appear so lifelike, they appear to literally be coming off her head, off this woman’s body and out of the screen your looking at! The coloring is magnificent and the detail is exceptional. It eye catching and vibrant in color. The artist did a very nice job.
5. Here’s an example where the image doesn’t have a lot of color but it really doesn’t need it thanks to the busyness of the overall picture. It still conveys power, ominous lurking of evil and control. She looks as if she’s on the prowl and ready to settle a score.
6. Medusa was known to turn everything she gazed upon into stone. She was a tortured soul because of mistakes and double crossing Athena. The fallout from that was significant and cost her everything. The outlining and line work of this piece is very good. It’s extensive and appears to be on both legs.
7. This piece has a zombie like quality to it. It’s chaotic and unnerving and the eyes are alarming and lifeless. Overall it’s a well done piece and don’t worry- people will definitely be asking lots of questions about this one!
8. This is an interesting chest piece and it took a really long time to complete. As you’ve probably noticed, Medusa’s face is often an afterthought and a lot of emphasis is put on the snakes. This is a perfect example of that imagery. How many snakes do you count protruding forth?
9. Cool in action shot of the artist inking this girl’s arm. The light and feminine color choices play upon the symbolism of Medusa perfectly.
10. Nice detail here and the coloring is really eye catching. The snake is the star of the show for sure.
11. This piece is extremely intimidating and frightening but it’s so well done. It evokes so many different emotions when people see it.
12. You’ve probably noticed that the upper thigh is a pretty prominent placement for this image. It’s eclectic and a little bit hipster placement but overall has a nice flow about it.
13. You’ve probably started noticing how the darker colors is more profound with this piece. We really love how the artist captured the evil of this Medusa piece by using black and excellent shading techniques. This took a lot of time and effort and probably wasn’t the most relaxing tattoo to get.
14. This is one of the better portraits we’ve ever seen. The snakes look real and her eyes look so lost and distant. They really spell out such inner turmoil. This is very hard to do and the artist did an excellent job. No one she was a scary mythological creature!
15. The fiery angst in this image is unnerving. The artist did an excellent job inflicting immediate chaos as soon as somebody looks at it. Medusa was known to be controlling and hateful and this image captures that. This is definitely leaning more towards the Greek mythological Medusa instead of the Roman version. She looks venomous and not quite like the sad maiden who was ruined and impregnated by Poseidon and then disciplined by Athena.
16. This image has begun to fade but you can still see the sensuality exuding out of the Medusa character. She was meant to be both alluring and destructive.
17. It’s so interesting how so many of these portraits make the woman look as if she doesn’t want to be controlled by these snakes. Perhaps the artist was trying to symbolize an inner battle within the canvas’s own heart.
18. This piece is really dark and kind of hard to see exactly. Medusa was a distorted figure and the scaly forehead attests to that.
19. The green face is something Medusa was known for. She looks like the cartoon character she’s been made into for movies and television shows. Typical to nature, she’s always the villain. The coloring and artwork here is very well done. It’s a very captivating piece.
20. This is interesting contrast. She looks asleep and the snakes look like they’re throwing a party! Portraits are hard to capture and the artist did a good job with the shading to show depth on her face.
21. The green is brilliantly done. It gives the overall piece an amphibious look to it that is scary and yet makes you want to stare just a bit longer. The pops of green makes the piece so much more vivid to the bystander. It would definitely evoke quite a conversation.
22. This is another excellent piece on contrast and depth. It’s shocking and alarming and sorrowful all wrapped in one. The way her hair flows is very difficult to do and the artist did an amazing job. It flows so well and did anyone notice that eye above her hair? This took a while to complete and was probably pretty painful since hand tattoos are usually sensitive areas to get inked.
23. This is a different take from any of the other images we’ve viewed thus far. The skeleton has been overrun by the snakes and Medusa looks calm and in control. The story here is very intense and the coloring is interesting because it almost gives off a childlike ambiance until you really study what the picture is conveying.
24. There’s something so innocent in her eyes. The snakes don’t look quite as guiltless. The artist did a tremendous job capturing her eyes. They are beautiful and sad and extremely well done. This is such an excellent depiction of the Roman version of Medusa. She is quite beautiful yet she has these writhing snakes on her head. You can see the battle waging in her haunting eyes and you can almost feel sorry for her.
25. The glossiness here alludes to them being recently done. Getting work done on the feet is super painful so this girl sat through some pretty good hurt while waiting for these pieces to be finished. The downcast maiden in indicative of Medusa. She looks forlorn as if she wishes for days gone by.
26. The blue hue of her face is an interesting take. It doesn’t match the red lines or the snakes yet it has this fascinating allure to it. It’s water like and yet alien looking. This image is probably closer to the Greek lore about Medusa.
27. This hurts to look at. Her eyes look so hopeless and agonized but the ink is very well done. She looks scared and overwhelmed and the artist did a fabulous job bringing it all together. The contrasting colors, details, line work and imagery all comes together for an exciting and overwhelming piece.
28. The artist did a fantastic job. It doesn’t even look like a tattoo, it looks like a sketch. The depth and contrast is near perfection. It was said that whatever Medusa gazed upon turned to stone and this looks like she gazed at herself and thus turned to stone as well. The colors in the background really offset the stonework and make the piece even more dramatic and eye catching. It’s very well done.
29. This isn’t your typical Medusa piece. It’s very colorful and light but her eyes give off a manipulative look that is affronting. The detail is excellent and it took a really long while to complete this. Too bad we can’t see what’s on her other leg.
30. This Medusa has nice shading and the overall look is true to form in what these pieces usually look like. The pops of yellow really make the image more vibrant and the reds create an all together cohesive feel to the art.
31. The coils in her hair are so striking. The contrast between the hair and the snakes is stunning. Even her eyes are alarmingly beautiful. The entire piece captures beauty and evil and is quite interesting. The shading on her face is very well done. This might be one of our favorites.
32. Wow, the eyes of those snakes is pretty piercing. The blood looks real too! What are your thoughts? The artist did a really great job with the shading here. It gives a lot of contrast and really depicts the scene of when Medusa was killed quite vividly. She looks so overcome and it kind of looks like a snake tongue is coming out of her mouth. She was so miserable as an ugly beast that was plagued by these snakes. It sounds like a pretty awful existence.
33. Beautiful sketch before the tattoo is placed and officially inked. Notice her beauty in the midst of being completely out of control as the snakes are all over her head.
The Medusa tattoo is meant to shock and awe. She was a very fierce creature who channeled her anger towards people and turned them to stone. She wasn’t a cuddly folklore image and none of the tattoos reflect that because it just simply wasn’t her character. The writhing snakes and the pained expression of the woman creates a masterful representation of people’s inner struggles. It can have some many different meanings for each individual.
If you decide that you’d like to get Medusa inked somewhere on your body, here are a couple things to consider. Be sure to check with your place of employment to ensure that tattoos are ok in their policies. Most places are cool with it, but it never hurts to double check. Decide where you’d like to place it, you may have noticed the upper thigh was super popular in these pictures. Sometimes what we like in pictures doesn’t always work for our aesthetic so make sure it looks good on you. Ask your friends or tattoo artist for their opinion and then make a decision that best suits you. Decide on the coloring and size and then decide on your budget. After you’ve evaluated everything, have fun and enjoy your new piece.