Lapith and Centaur

Lapith and Centaur

Date ca. 438-432 BCE

Movement Greek | Classical

Medium Marble

Height 56″

Provenance Parthenon, Akropolis, Athens

Located at The British Museum, London


In the metopes that extends the perimeter of the temple, four narratives emerge: the sack of Troy on the north, gods against giants on east, the Battle of Lapiths and the Centaurs to the south, and the battle of the Greeks and Amazonian warriors to the west; these mythical references help to enforce a consistent theme of order and reason triumphing over chaos–a way to commemorate the their success over the Persians. By retelling this theme in mythical depiction, the Greeks sought to reinforce their existence in unyielding fate; the south metopes survives the best of the four, and here, we can see a grim depiction of onslaught between man and beast. Not all metope were created with such care, however, given the hurried state of the overall project.