Classical Centaur Art: Mating Time

Embracing Centaurs by Peter Paul Rubens at Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon

Art by Flemish master, Peter Paul Rubens.

I do find it very interesting that Rubens chose to show the centaurs mounting considering this painting was probably done in the early 17th Century.


With much appreciation to Langs for the better image material.


October 13, 2013 · 5:02 PM

6 responses to “Classical Centaur Art: Mating Time

  1. This painting was never meant to be viewed by the unwashed, ignorant masses. It was strictly for wealthier, more “sophisticated” clientele that understood the underlying symbolism and metaphor. Also, many artists of this period managed to find loopholes in the various censorship laws by painting mythological themes. This would not have been considered pornography, even by the most conservative of audiences.

    • Thank you for clarifying the issue. So I will guess members of the clergy hadn’t much opportunity to view such works.

      • @Centaureg: To the contrary, it was widely known that members of the clergy would commission works like these for their private collections (I’m not sure if this work was commissioned by The Church or by a secular authority–I’ll have to do more research.) Also, “Mating Time” would have been considered tame compared to some of Ruben’s other works.

      • One set of morals for the unwashed masses. A second set for the wealthy and the educated. Not all that different today.

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