Printer Friendly Version

Theseus Slaying the Centaur Bianor

The ancient Greeks placed a high value on human abilities and accomplishments. Physical strength, intelligence, and courage were attributes of their mythological heroes, such as Theseus, who is portrayed in this bronze sculpture.

The French artist who made this 19th-century sculpture combined enthusiasm for ancient Greek art with an interest in new artistic trends. Satisfying his own curiosity and exercising great skill, he created this powerful sculpture.

Antoine-Louis Barye
French, 1795-1875
Theseus Slaying the Centaur Bianor, modeled c. 1850 (cast c. 1891)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Gift of the heirs of Louis W. Hill: Mr. Louis W. Hill, Jr., Mr. Jerome Hill, Mr. Cortland Hill, and Mrs. Maude Schroll

A Mythical Hero
Greek Mythology Inspires European Art
Animal Enthusiast

A Collection of Mythology: Use the Art Collector feature of ArtsConnectEd to see artworks based on Greek mythology. Reorganize this collection into different categories, such as heroes and gods; love, war, and adventure; or paintings and sculptures. Or, find and read the stories the artworks are based on. Click here to access the collection. Click here to learn more about Art Collector.  

Mapping It Out: Take a geographic look at Theseus Slaying the Centaur Bianor. Begin by finding a map that shows Greece, where myths such as the story of Theseus were told. A new interest in ancient Greece took hold in Europe after the discovery of the ruined cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in Italy. See if you can find those ancient cities on a map. The French artist Antoine-Louis Barye lived and worked in Paris. Now his Theseus Slaying the Centaur Bianor is in Minneapolis. On a map of Minneapolis, locate the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Use a museum map to find Barye’s sculpture in the museum!  

Stories from Around the World: Use the MIA’s online resource World Myths and Legends in Art to learn about the mythologies, stories, and legends of cultures around the world.  

Illustrating a Myth: Read a story from Greek mythology and create a drawing or sculpture to illustrate it. Who are the story's main characters? Are they heroes, gods, or mortals? What values or traits do they have? Imagine how these characters would look. What events happen in the story? What is the moment of highest drama? Select a scene for your illustration.  

September 2009