The evolution of the Gorgon’s image

The Gorgon Medusa was initially represented as a hideous monster, but her image was later popularised in the Roman decorative repertory, no doubt because of its apotropaic function (i.e. it warded off the "evil eye"). Her image changed radically, metamorphosing from a monster into a woman’s face, full of ambiguity and anxiety.
This is illustrated by the bronze object (found in Rouen) shown opposite. Although this was clearly a decorative object, it is difficult to determine its precise function; it may have been a door knocker base, for example. Some of the Gorgon’s features are recognisable here (her large eyes and broad face), but she no longer has snakes in her hair.