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Theseus and the Centaur

Photo credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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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.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts







H 34.3 x W 37.7 x D 9 cm;
Plinth: H 4 x W 39.3 x D 14 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from G. Mayer, 1946

Work type



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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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