Theseus and the Minotaur (Second Version)

Antoine-Louis Baryemodeled: 1843; first cast of second version: 1857

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

In ancient Crete, King Minos had demanded that seven Athenian youths and seven maidens be sacrificed each year to the Minotaur, a monster with a bull's head. Posing as one of the youths, the Athenian hero Theseus managed to reach the Minotaur in his labyrinth and, with a sword provided by Minos's daughter, Ariadne, he prepares to kill the creature. This sculpture was one of five works that Barye submitted to the 1843 Salon, only to have them all rejected. Subsequently, it was listed in the catalogue issued by the firm of Besse et Cie in 1844 as "one of the most beautiful works, one of the most energetic figures that modern sculpture has produced." No other work reflects Barye's neoclassical training as vividly as Theseus and the Minotaur. Even the arrangement of the hero's hair is borrowed directly from a recently discovered Greek statue in the Louvre: the Apollo di Piombino.


  • Title: Theseus and the Minotaur (Second Version)
  • Creator Lifespan: 1795/1875
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Date Created: modeled: 1843; first cast of second version: 1857
  • Physical Dimensions: w33.9725 x h50.4825 x d20.32 cm
  • Type: sculpture
  • Rights: Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1889
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: bronze with black over green patina on a red marble base
  • Provenance: William T. Walters, Baltimore, prior to 1889 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Paris, France
  • Inscriptions: [Signature] Cast through from model: BARYE
  • ExhibitionHistory: Salon, Paris, 1851. Musée du Louvre, Paris. 1851; The Works of Antoine-Louis Barye. American Art Gallery (New York), New York. 1889-1890; From David to Courbet. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit. 1950; An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967; Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001; A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004; Untamed: The Art of Antoine-Louis Barye. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach. 2007-2008
  • Artist: Antoine-Louis Barye

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