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Analysis of Centaur Abducting Woman with Fallen Lapith Man

Essay by   •  January 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  825 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,261 Views

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Perhaps the most interesting period in Greek sculpture is the Classical period. During this glorious period of unbelievable craftsmanship, numerous pieces celebrated the Greek's infatuation with fable and war. The sculpture, nicely titled Centaur Abducting Lapith Woman and Fallen Lapith Man, is a wonderful symbol of the artistic period and image of war. Sculpted somewhere around 447-438 B.C., the sculpture was carved out of solid marble to produce a beautiful, and yet horrifying scene from a battle.

This sculpture was most likely the artist's attempt to capture the essence of some fable that had been passed down through the generations. Perhaps more likely, it could have been the artist's own imagination that fathomed the macabre beauty of the rendered scene. The sculpture is done in high relief, carved out of a solid block of marble. The lines and curves of the sculpture give each character within it great definition. It almost appears though, from the way in which the centaur holds the woman, that he has no head. This adds to the already existing complexity of the sculpture. It is very similar to other sculptures of the Classical period in the way that it depicts a man at death's doorstep, and a woman being abducted. It seems to be a reoccurring theme.

The sculpture is done in a monochromatic brown hue. It depicts a valiant centaur with a Lapith woman slung over his shoulder. A Lapith man lies dead at the centaur's feet. Given such little information about the context of the sculpture, one is likely to assume that the centaur was after the woman alone, and not some larger goal, like taking over the township in which she lived. The man, most likely her husband, perished trying to defend his wife from the ominous half man, half horse. The centaur pulls up proudly on his rear two hooves, as if to proclaim his triumph to his fellow centaurs, somewhere off in the distance. The dead man underneath his body appears to have lost a limb or two while engaged in the fighting. The placement of the man directly underneath the centaur, and the woman directly above him, really gives the sculpture a strong sense of unity. In fact, the way the man's leg intertwines with that of the centaur almost makes the three figures appear as if they were one and the same.

Considering the obvious, that the centaur is a creature of Greek mythology, one can make the assumption that the sculpture was based on a story that appeared in some other spoken or written form. Although one could attain a general understanding from looking at it independently, the scene was most likely part of a much grander plot. Given the knowledge that some tales of this sort were originally meant to scare small children, it is possible that this

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