A giant, having failed in his attempt to reach Olympus, hurtles towards the earth, about to be crushed by the very stones with which he planned to overthrow Jupiter. In the bottom left are tiny figures of a satyr and goats, giving a dramatic sense of scale. The tumbling titan has been sculpted with dramatic foreshortening: a distorting perspective technique which depicts an object as shorter than it would be in reality, to create the illusion of it receding or approaching quickly.

According to his daughter Lavinia, Banks said that “he conceived the subject to exist in the block of marble, à priori, and that it was called forth by the sculptors hand”. Lavinia herself, however, believed it was probably based on sketches Banks had made with Henry Fuseli in Rome some years previously.


  • Title: The Falling Titan; A Falling Giant
  • Creator: Thomas Banks RA
  • Date Created: 1786
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Photo credit: © Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer: Paul Highnam
  • Medium: Marble
  • Royal Academy Picture Library number: PL001347
  • Physical dimensions: Height: 84.5 cm, width: 90.2 cm

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