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Phalaris and the Bull of Perillus

A work made of terracotta with traces of polychromy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terracotta with traces of polychromy.




Giovanni Caccini (Attributed to)
Italian, 1556-1612

About this artwork

This classical subject tells the cautionary tale of the sculptor Perillus, who offered to make a bronze bull in which the tyrant Phalaris could roast his enemies. Perillus was rewarded by being the contraption’s first victim. In the Renaissance, this story was interpreted as a moral fable of ow bad advice rebounds on the giver, and it is here presented against the backdrop of a large Renaissance piazza. The relief is attributed to Giovanni Caccini on the basis of its stylistic relationship to his best-known work, the bronze panes of the doors of Pisa Cathedral (1604).


On View, Gallery 206


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Giovanni Battista Caccini


Phalaris and the Bull of Perillus


Italy (Object made in)

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.



Terracotta with traces of polychromy


68.6 × 87.6 cm (27 × 34 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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