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South Metope 27: Lapith and Centaur

Image access restricted
Lapith and Centaur

Collection: London, British Museum
Title: Parthenon, South Metope 27
Context: From Athens, Acropolis
Findspot: Found at Athens, Acropolis
Summary: Lapith and Centaur
Sculptor: Literary attestation to Pheidias
Material: Marble
Sculpture Type: Architectural
Category: Statuary group
Placement: South side
Style: High Classical
Original or Copy: Original
Date: 447 BC - 432 BC

H 1.35 m

Scale: Under life-size
Region: Attica
Period: High Classical
In Group: Parthenon Metopes

Subject Description:

Centauromachy: Frontal Lapith male (left) strides to left while turning head to right, gripping head of Centaur with left hand and plunging bronze spear (missing) into back of Centaur with right hand. Centaur (right) moves to right but rears with upper torso bending back in response to attack of Lapith. Widely spread cloak of Lapith serves as backdrop to scene. Some scholars suggest the male figure is Theseus.

Form & Style:

Ingenious composition of predominantly horizontal and vertical lines with spear as diagonal. Catenary folds of cloak contrast with skin and rippling musculature of figures.

Condition: Intact

Condition Description:

Upper left portion of slab is restored in plaster. Missing: Lower right leg, right forearm, head and lower edge of mantle of Lapith, right rear and front forelegs, left arm and most of head of Centaur. Surface abraded.

Material Description:

Pentelic Marble

Associated Building: Athens, Parthenon

Sources Used:

Boardman 1985a, pp. 104-105; Stewart 1990, pp. 154-155; Ridgway 1981, pp. 16-26