Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
lego.com (accessed: August 3, 2018)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Oliver Brookes, The Royal College of Nursing, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
The LEGO Company (Company)
The LEGO Group (accessed: July 6, 2018) is a toy manufacturer founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, in Bilund, Denmark. Having no overt classical associations, they are most famous for their manufacture of the LEGO brick first released in 1958, and minifigures as of 1974. LEGO define themselves as providing "good quality play" through their products that enrich a child’s life, and lay the foundation for later adult development. All of their products are based on the underlying philosophy of ‘learning and development through play*.
The LEGO Brand identifies their core values as "imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality'. Through this play, they believe they believe that we learn ‘by putting things together, taking them apart, thereby creating new things, and developing new ways of thinking about ourselves and the world (accessed: May 24, 2018). Aside from the physicality of construction that LEGO offers, there is also the way of learning and development through the use of minifigures. A standard LEGO minifigure, for instance those found in the City theme, may fulfil roles in the police, fire department, or airports. However, as LEGO has grown increasingly in popularity, so has its connection with popular culture. Some of its most popular sets are within the Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, and DC Comics franchises.
Bio prepared by Oliver Brookes, The Royal College of Nursing, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Lego minifigure shows the Gorgon Medusa in her most recognisable form including hair comprised of writhing snakes. The monstrous features of Medusa are present, but toned down to suit younger users. Unlike other minifigures, Medusa is not accompanied by any additional items. The minifigure could, however, be used alongside other minifigures or sets.
The minifigure emphasises the monstrous nature of Medusa, who is known in classical mythology for her hair made of coiling snakes. This feature acts as the headpiece for the minifigure. Her hair is coloured bright green – green is the colour that is most commonly associated with snakes and reptiles. The snakes appear asymmetrically upon the headpiece as though to connote a sense of writhing movement and action.
The minifigure’s head consists of two faces, either of which can be rotated to the front. One side is calmer and more human, with lime green eyes and a closed mouth, recalling Medusa’s time before her transformation into a Gorgon by the goddess Athena. The other side presents an aggressive image. On this side, the eyes are deep orange, and the mouth is wide open revealing two large white fangs, not unlike that of a snake. The eye sockets are recessed, with visible cheekbones making her face appear like that of an attacking serpent.
The torso of Medusa is a lighter shade of green, with darker shading at the hips to illustrate curves and a more feminine shape. Around her torso, Medusa wears beige armour or cloth shaped like the jaws of a snake. At the base of the clothing there are two fangs that meet at the waist. At the top of piece of clothing there are two brown coiled decorative snakes, both depicted facing each other and hissing. This motif is reminiscent of sculptural depictions in the Archaic and Classical period. Instead of human legs, Medusa's lower body is that of a large upright snake. White dots in an ‘M’ shape on the snake part of her lower body represent scales. The simplicity and visibility of Medusa’s monstrous and human elements would make the figure a useful tool in teaching chidren about the duality and humanity of monsters.
The depiction of the minifigure draws heavily on painted and sculptural figures from the Classical world. Meanwhile, the exaggerated features of the minifigure is consistent with uses of Medusa in popular culture, which tend to emphasise her monstrosity. Childhood fears of animals, not least reptiles may also be capitalised upon here.
Genre: a toy inspired by classical antiquity, an object of material culture