Mythological relief: Bellerophon taming Pegasos

Classification
Culture
Dimensions
33,5 x 37 cm
Date
2nd century B.C.
Inventory
4775
ID
Hyp-682
Condition
Fragment.
References
Horváth, J. – Nagy, Á. M., in Ókor 8/1 (2009); Matz–von Duhn 1881–1882, III, 55, no. 3559; Hekler 1929, 90, no. 81; Lochin: Pegasos, in LIMC VII (1994), 222, no. 119; Szilágyi, J. Gy., Antik Gyűjtemény, 76–77, fig. 55; Szilágyi, J. Gy., Ancient Art, 85, fig. 55

This fragmentary relief is a masterpiece of Hellenistic art. It captures the height of a battle: Bellerophon springs onto Pegasus and brings him down. The intense, dynamic movements and the exaggerated muscles show that the hero is using all his strength to break the winged horse.
Bellerophon is nude save for his cloak, as is typical for mythical heroes. But his round face is like a portrait, and his head is adorned with a diadem. This is how rulers are usually depicted. The relief thus represents a Hellenistic king as Bellerophon.
The missing right wing of Pegasos was separately carved and joined to the body. Its right foreleg and the right thigh of the hero were masterfully carved in the round, which made them vulnerable to fracture.

Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the relief was made of Parian (Paros-Stefani) marble. Click here for the detailed results.