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Reproduction of the Bull Leapers Fresco

Attributed to Emile Gilliéron père

Period:
Late Minoan IIIA
Date:
ca. 1425–1300 B.C.
Culture:
Minoan
Medium:
watercolor on paper
Dimensions:
Overall: 65 1/2 x 38 in. (166.4 x 96.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1907
Accession Number:
07.99.17
  • Description

    Excavated 1901 in the Court of the Stone Spout, Knossos.

    The well-known fresco at Knossos of a leaping bull was one of at least three similar scenes. The figural portion is framed at top and bottom by elaborate borders of overlapping variegated rock patterns between narrow bands with dentil patterns. There is no evidence to support the restored rock pattern at the sides.

    Two white-skinned females and a red-skinned male engage the bull, which is rendered in a flying gallop. Bull sports had a long history in Minoan art stretching back to the third millennium B.C. When this reproduction was first exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum it was identified as a circus scene. More recently, scholars have suggested that the scene represents ritual practices, perhaps symbolizing human domination over nature.

    The original is in the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion, Crete.

  • References

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 23, fig. 13.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 29, fig. 19.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 29, fig. 19.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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