Statue of a Young Centaur

Inv. Scu 656

This work depicts a young centaur, a mythological creature that is half man, half horse. In reflection of these creatures semi-wild nature, this centaur is shown entirely nude. A small animal skin hangs from his left arm and in his right hand he holds a pedum, a small gnarled stick normally associated with satyrs, but that in this case acts as a general symbol of the Dionysian world. Other Dionysian attributes such as a pine branch and Syrinx (a nymph sexually pursued by Pan, companion of Dionysus)can be seen on the support under the creature’s belly.

The base of the statue is incised with the names of the sculptures who made it. Once can see the names Aristeas and Papias.

Scholars believe these artists were from the town of Afrodisia, a city in Asia Minor that housed a school of skilled copyists of Greek art. It is known that some of these sculptors immigrated to Rome in the last decades of the first century A.D.

The work was sculpted from Marmo Grigio (grey marble), a rare and valuable material extracted from quarries on the Capo Tenaro promontory in Laconia.

The style of the work dates it to the Hadrianic period (117-138 A.D.). The sculpture comes from Villa Adriana.