The Athenian hero is killing the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Unusual is the depiction of the Cretan monster with a bull’s body and the bust of a man and not, as in the legend, a bull’s head and a man’s body. It is also interesting to note the way the painter depicts the struggle in the Minotaur’s prison: the device of the ruined wall on the left reveals the scene and the Labyrinth is imagined as a spiral-shaped construction open to the sky. The use of light is characteristic of Cima’s maturity, an original development of the naturalistic model of Giovanni Bellini.
The panel probably comes from the same cycle, intended to decorate a cassone or the headboard of a bed, which included the panel with the Wedding of Bacchus and Ariadne (see no. 30). Both works date from around 1505.


  • Title: Theseus Killing the Minotaur
  • Creator: Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano
  • Creator Lifespan: 1459-1460 - 1517-1518
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Death Place: Conegliano (TV)
  • Creator Birth Place: Conegliano (TV)
  • Date Created: 1505
  • Physical Dimensions: w73.5 x h87.4 cm
  • Rights: Fondazione artistica Poldi Pezzoli "Onlus"
  • External Link: http://www.museopoldipezzoli.it/node/519
  • Medium: Panel

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