Centaur and Nymph

Centaur and Nymph, 1919
Josef Müllner (1879 - 1968)
Bronze
SC95
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Centaur and Nymph

This sculpture is also known by the title ‘Kronos and Philyra’. It was made by the Austrian artist, Josef Müllner in the Art Nouveau style.  This artistic period ran loosely from 1895 to 1910 and was known as Jugendstil, meaning Youth Style, in German.

The sculpture comprises a centaur holding a struggling nymph. In Greek mythology, Philyra was one of the 3,000 Oceanids, water-nymph daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Philyra fell in love with Kronos, who was the leader of the Titans and, for a brief period, the ruler of all gods and men. According to the myth, Kronos’ wife Rhea stumbled on Kronos and Philyra, when 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, Philyra’s shame at having given birth to a centaur led to the gods transforming her into a linden, or lime tree.

Gallery

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

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