Centaur & Nymph

Centaur and Nymph, 1919
Josef Müllner (1879 - 1968)
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Centaur & Nymph

The title of this bronze sculpture is ‘Centaur and Nymph’, although it is also known by the title ‘Kronos and Philyra’. It was made by Josef Müllner an Austrian artist and his signature is on the bottom right side. It is in the style of Art Nouveau which is a period of artistic form that loosely ran from 1895 to 1910. In Germany and Austria this style was known as Jugenstil, meaning Youth Style.

The sculpture comprises a centaur holding a struggling nymph. In Greek mythology, Philrya was the nymph of the mountain Pelion in Thessaly. She fell in love with her uncle, Kronos, who was the lord of the universe. As the myth goes, Kronos’ wife Rhea stumbled on Kronos and Philrya, who were in an intimate embrace. To hide, Kronos is said to have turned himself into a horse. As a result, their son Chiron was born as a centaur, with his upper body being human and his lower part being horse. Apparently, Philrya’s shame at having given birth to a centaur led to Kronos transforming her into a Linden, or Lime tree!

Signed on the bottom right by Austrian artist Josef Müllner, dated 1919.
Foundry mark on left-hand side – ‘Erzcesserei AG Wien Austria’


  • Sculpture of Centaur trying to carry away a water nymph, who is resisting him

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