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Plaquette - A battle of Centaurs and Lapiths

A battle of Centaurs and Lapiths

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (north, made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century-early 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Caradosso (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This plaquette depicting a battle of Centaurs and Lapiths was made by Caradosso in the late 15th century-early 16th century.
Plaquettes are small plaques or reliefs made of bronze, brass, lead or precious metals. They originated in the 1440ies with the desire to reproduce coins and hardstone engravings from ancient Greece and Rome. Some were made as collector's pieces, to be viewed and displayed in private, and others for practical purposes. They also inspired designs in other media, from architecture to bookbindings.
Whilst religious plaquettes had both public and private functions, and mounted religious plaquettes, known as paxes, were held up during mass for the kiss of peace, those with a secular subject matter were usually for private, personal use. They were used as pendants, desk ornaments, and applied to functional objects such as pounce-pots. They were also valued as fine miniature works of art. Plaquettes had a role in disseminating classical imagery and designs throughout Europe, in the same manner as the contemporary print. The subject matter was often a miniature composition, only rarely a single isolated figure. The artist Moderno is widely regarded as the most accomplished designer in this medium.

Physical description

Bronze plaquette depicting a battle of Centaurs and Lapiths. In the foreground to the right a Lapith striking down a entaur whoses arm is held by a woman; to the left a Centaur carrying off a naked woman whom a draped woman is trying to rescue. Other struggling groups between the pillars of an elaborate architectural background of two stories. The rim of the plaquette is slightly raised.

Place of Origin

Italy (north, made)


late 15th century-early 16th century (made)


Caradosso (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 49 mm, Width: 48.5 mm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, depicting a battle of Centaurs and Lapiths, by Caradosso, North Italy, late 15th to early 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 73
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 50
Pope-Hennessy, John. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Reliefs - Plaquettes - Statuettes - Utensils and Mortars . London: 1965, p. 18, no 48, fig 76



Subjects depicted

Centaur; Lapiths


Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes


Sculpture Collection

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