Half man, half horse, the centaurs were thought to inhabit remote wooded areas. In much of Greek art, they appear in combat with humans and, by implication, are the antithesis of civilized men. The classic rendering of this subject can be seen in the metopes of the Parthenon in Athens. It is, however, already fully presented in this bronze statuette. The outcome of the conflict is indicated by the end of the spear preserved in the centaur's left flank and by the greater height of the man.
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X-radiograph showing hollows for inlays in the eyes
Infrared-reflected images that highlight the decoration on the throne and her hands resting on her knees.
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Title:Bronze man and centaur
Date:mid-8th century BCE
Dimensions:H. 4 3/8 in. (11.10 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Said to be from Olympia (Mertens 1985, p. 19).
[Until 1906, art market, Paris]; 1906-1913, collection of J. Pierpont Morgan, New York; 1913-1917, estate of J.P. Morgan; acquired in December 1917, gift of J.P. Morgan.
Sambon, Arthur. 1906. "Les Verres Antiques." Le Musée, 3. p. 429, fig. 3, Paris.
Baur, Paul Victor Christopher. 1912. Centaurs in Ancient Art: The Archaic Period. p. 79, fig. 15, Berlin: K. Curtius.
Smith, Cecil H. Sir and Librairie Centrale des Beaux-arts. 1913[Librairie centrale des beaux-arts]. Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan: Bronzes, antique Greek and Roman, including some antique objects in gold and silver. no. 80, pp. 32–3, Paris.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 44, fig. 23, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 51–52, fig. 29, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 51–52, fig. 29, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Albright Art Gallery. 1937. Master Bronzes, Selected from Museums and Collections in America. no. 62, Buffalo: Burrow.
Alexander, Christine. 1939. Early Greek Art: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alexander, Christine. 1945. "Early Statuettes from Greece." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3(10): p. 242.
Alexander, Christine. 1950. "A Marble Lekythos and the Elgin Athena." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9.2: p. 242.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. pp. 51, 345, fig. 13, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Alexander, Christine. 1950. "A Marble Lekythos and the Elgin Athena." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9(2): p. 242.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 22, 173, pl. 12b, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Bandinelli, Ranuccio Bianchi. 1958. Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale, Vol. 2. p. 468, fig. 650, Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.
Yalouris, Nikolaos. 1974. "Three Geometric Figurines." Antike Kunst, 17(1): p. 22, pl. 3.6.
Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. p. 20, pl. 3d, Cambridge, England.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1978. Antichnoe iskusstvo iz muzeia Metropoliten, Soedinennye Shtaty Ameriki: Katalog vystavki. no. 13, pl. 2, Moscow: Sovetskii Khudozhnik.
Hampe, Roland and Erika Simon. 1980. Un Millénaire d'Art Grec 1600-600. p. 234, pls. 380, 381, Fribourg, Suisse: Office du Livre.
Heilmeyer, Wolf-Dieter. 1982. Frühgriechische Kunst : Kunst und Siedlung im geometrischen Griechenland. pp. 30, 47, figs. 37–38, Berlin: Gebr. Mann.
Mertens, Joan R. 1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43(2): no. 8, pp. 7, 18–19.
Zimmerman, Jean-Louis. 1989. Les Chevaux de Bronze dans l'Art Géométrique Grec. LAC 60, pp. 231, 261, 270 n. 7, Mayence: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
Howard Kathleen. 1994. Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide: Works of Art Selected by Philippe De Montebello. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1997. Vol. 8: Thespiades-Zodiacus. "Typhon," p. 150, no. 27; "Zeus," p. 317, no. 14; "Kentauroi et Kentaurides," p. 682, no. 132, pl. 422, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.
Picón, Carlos A., Joan R. Mertens, Elizabeth J. Milleker, Christopher S. Lightfoot, and Seán Hemingway. 2000. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1999–2000." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 58(2): p. 10.
Strouse, Jean and Joan R. Mertens. 2000. "J. Pierpont Morgan: Financier and Collector." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 57(3): pp. 42–43, fig. 48.
Shear, Ione Mylonas. 2002. "Mycenaean Centaurs at Ugarit." The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 122: pp. 149–50, pl. 4, C.
Lempesē, Angelikē. 2002. To hiero tou Hermē kai tēs Aphroditēs stē Symē Viannou. III Ta Chalkina Anthropomorpha Eidolia, Vol. 3. pp. 227, 253, Athens: Hē en Athēnais Archaiologikē Hetaireia.
Padgett, J. Michael. 2003. The Centaur's Smile: The Human Animal in Early Greek Art no. 13, pp. 133–36, Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 33, pp. 50, 415, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Neils, Jenifer. 2009. "Beloved of the Gods: Imag(in)ing Heroes in Greek Art." Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece, Sabine Albersmeier, ed. p. 109, fig. 63, Baltimore: Walters Art Museum.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. p. 62, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Paris, Rita, Elisabetta Setari, and Nunzio Giustozzi. 2013. Mostri: Creature Fantastiche della Paura e del Mito. no. 2, p. 189, Milan: Electa.
Hemingway, Seán and De Abramitis. 2015. "The Use of Inlays in Early Greek Bronzes." Artistry in Bronze : The Greeks and Their Legacy : XIX International Congress on Ancient Bronzes, Jens M. Daehner, Kenneth Lapatin, and Ambra Spinelli, eds. pp. 116–17, figs. 14.1–.2, Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2020. ART = Discovering Infinite Connections in Art History. p. 015, New York: Phaidon Press.
Hemingway, Seán. 2021. How to Read Greek Sculpture. no. 2, pp. 50–51, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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