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John Gibson RA, Minerva bringing Pegasus to Bellerophon

Minerva bringing Pegasus to Bellerophon

John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)

RA Collection: Art

Gibson depicts Minerva presenting the flying horse Pegasus, with its golden bridal, to Bellerophon. Her gift was intended to help the young Corinthian hero fight the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster. Homer relates the story of Bellerophon the in The Iliad, Book VI.

According to Gibson images of Bellerophon’s adventures, often featured on ancient vases but were rarely depicted in modern times. Gibson was drawn to the subject as it gave him the opportunity to display ‘three of the most beautiful objects in nature… the man, female & the horse.’ It also allowed him to show his dexterity in presenting contrasting character types through the ‘robust and active’ hero and the ‘dignified draped’ Minerva.

Bellerophon leading Pegasus to water is the subject of a relief dating to the 2nd century AD in the Palazzo Spada, Rome, which Gibson may have known.

Object details

Minerva bringing Pegasus to Bellerophon
John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)
Object type
Sculpture Relief
Plaster relief

597 mm x 876 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Bequeathed by John Gibson RA 1866
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