Statue of a Centaur with its Base

Object Details


Statue of a Centaur with its Base






Rome, Lazio, Italy (Place created)


1700 - 1800


Centaur: rosso antico; base: brecchia


157 x 127 x 63.5 cm (61 13/16 x 50 x 25 in.)

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A grinning centaur, a mythological creature that is half-man and half-horse, stands proudly in this sculpture. He carries a set of panpipes and an animal skin is draped over his left arm. Colored marble such as this was quite expensive and a popular symbol of wealth in the Roman world. It was used primarily for architectural decoration and occasionally for sculpture.

This sculpture, acquired by the Getty Museum as a Roman work and believed to have come from the ruins of the palace of the emperor Domitian, has been recently reexamined. These studies suggest that the sculpture was in fact made in the 1700s as a copy of a Roman statue. The centaur is covered with pointing marks that are not ancient.

The Getty Museum centaur is remarkably similar to another centaur carved by the eighteenth-century sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, who offered copies of Roman centaurs in his sales catalogue. The Getty centaur may also be the work of Cavaceppi.

Related Works

S. Marco, Firenze. Sale cat., Coll. Talleyrand-Perigord Ruspoli, May 31-June 2, 1969. lot 640.

Jentoft-Nilsen, Marit. "A Musical Instrument," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 11 (1983), pp. 157-158. fig. 1.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986) p. 37.

Stephens, William H., The New Testament World in Pictures, 1987 p. 260, ill. fig. 521.

Fernandez, I.G. "J. Paul Getty Museum," Revista de Arqueologia 115, Nv (1990), pp. 48-56. ill. p. 54.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991) p. 25 (as 82.AA.78).

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 74, ill.

Gregarek, Heike. "Untersuchungen zur kaiserzeitlichen Idealplastik in Buntmarmor," Kolner Jahrbuch 32 (1999) p. 93, 238, no. D 168, fig. 81.

Morawietz, Georg. Der gezähmte Kentaur. Bedeutungsveränderungen der Kentaurenbilder in der Antike. Munich 2000. 110 fig. 53.

Morawietz, Georg. "Die Kentauren des Aristeas und Papias und die Repliken der beiden Statuentypen," Antike Plastik 29 (2005) 54 n. 32.