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Apollo and Marsyas

A work made of oil on board.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on board.




Hans Thoma
German, 1839–1924

About this artwork

Along with Arnold Böcklin, Hans Thoma was a leading Northern European figure in the shift from Realism and history painting to art inspired by classical myths and legends. Taken from Ovid’s epic poem Metamorphoses, Thoma showed the satyr Marsyas challenging Apollo, the master of the lyre, to a musical contest. Although he avoided depicting the cruel outcome of the match (the satyr lost and was flayed alive by Apollo), the artist’s treatment of Apollo, whose idealized body and luminous skin set him apart from the shadowy halftones of his challenger, hints at the winner. Thoma’s painted frame may also have been inspired by a tale from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.


On View, Gallery 245


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Hans Thoma


Apollo and Marsyas

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on board


101 × 73.5 cm (39 3/4 × 28 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Henry Morgen, Ann G. Morgen, Meyer Wasser, and Ruth G. Wasser

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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