Lion felling a bull, from a marble pediment

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 525–500 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Marble, Parian

Dimensions: Overall: 25 3/16 x 7 in. (64 x 17.8 cm)
Other: 28 3/8in. (72cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1942

Accession Number: 42.11.35


The original composition, which probably decorated the pediment (triangular gable) of a small building, consisted of two lions felling their prey. The adjoining piece, which the forepart of the right-hand lion and the middle of the bull, was found near the Olympieion in Athens in 1862 and is now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The subject is one of the most popular in Archaic art of all media. It allowed artists to infuse a symmetrical composition with violent movement. It may also have represented the conflict between civilized life and nature, a theme symbolized later by the struggles between Greeks and centaurs.