The Dying Centaur

William Rimmer American, born England
Cast by Gorham Manufacturing Company American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

The mythical centaur, with the head and torso of a man and lower body of a horse, represented Rimmer’s recurrent fascination with dueling forces of the spiritual and the physical, the mortal and the immortal, the animal and the human. Here, a centaur who has collapsed futilely attempts to rise. The truncated, upraised arms express the pathos of the dying creature’s plight. Rimmer modeled the sculpture while he was teaching at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York and left no commentary on its enigmatic meaning. However, among the proposed interpretations is a connection to the moral tales of poet and theologian Edward Young, in which a centaur confronts his death after a lifetime of debauchery. Facing God’s judgement, he desperately seeks salvation, possibly referring to Rimmer's own moral tumult and lifelong struggles with mental illness.

The Dying Centaur, William Rimmer (American (born England), Liverpool 1816–1879 South Milford, Massachusetts), Bronze, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.