It seems people have told stories of human-animal hybrids for almost as long as humanity has been around. Sphinxes, satyrs and countless other half human creatures have found their way into the mythology of many cultures across the globe.
Centaurs are a particularly well known mythological creature that originated during the bronze age in ancient Greece. With the body of a horse and the torso, head and arms of a human, the centaurs’ distinct appearance has left a lasting impression across the ages.
Said to be followers of Dionysus, (the god of wine) centaurs originally had a reputation as rowdy brawlers who liked their drink and their women in equal measure.
Their wild reputation placed them as barbaric troublemakers in many Greek stories, including the ill-fated wedding of king Pirithous. 😬
However, not all centaurs were so beastly. The wise and peaceful centaur Chiron helped train many iconic heroes of Greek mythology like Jason, Achilles and Hercules.
🤔 What are female centaurs called? Centaurides (sounds fun!) centauresses and centaurettes have all been used to describe half woman, half horse creatures.
Centaurs have made the journey into more modern fantasy stories too. Major epics like The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter feature centaur characters, along with gaming franchises like Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering.
It’s no surprise that the striking half-human appearance of the centaur has inspired artists for millennia. From renaissance painters like Botticelli to the skilled digital artists of today, centaurs continue to be popular subjects in art.
We’ve scoured the web for the very best centaur art we could find and shared it below. You’ll find a wide range of depictions, from gentle forest dwellers to battle-hardened warriors.
Each piece includes the name of the artist if you’d like to discover more of their work.