Theseus Combating the Centaur Biénor
Model: Paris, about 1846-48; Cast: probably Paris, late 19th century
34.3 x 37.7 x 9 cm
Plinth: 4 x 39.3 x 14 cm
The mythical hero Theseus clubs to death Biénor, one of the centaurs who had tried to carry off the brides at the wedding of the King of the Lapiths. The subject is from the classical Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses (XII: 344-9), and gave Barye the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to sculpt animals. This is one of his finest compositions in a more traditional classical vein. It was cast from the model for a larger version, commissioned by the French Ministry of the Interior in 1849.
Purchased 1946 (No. 46.2)