height, 17 3/4in (45.1cm)
Locked in a lethal embrace, two muscular figures face off. Greek hero Theseus stands with feet firmly planted and a strong right hand poised ready to stab his bull-headed opponent. Part man and part bull, the Minotaur hurls a powerful leg around his enemy, pulls down, and torques his body in a dramatic diagonal. Known for theatrical portrayals of animals in deadly conflict, Antoine-Louis Barye depicts the sensational conclusion of the Greek myth in which Theseus of Athens slays the Minotaur of Crete, ending a cycle of violence between the two city states.
Modern Art at the McNay: A Brief History and Pictorial Survey of the Collection; William J. Chiego; 2001; p. 30
Signature & date
Signed on the base: Barye
Antoine-Louis Barye (French, b.1796, d.1875)