Michael Ayrton (British, 1921 – 1975)
DimensionsPlate : 11 3/8 x 21 1/2 in. (28.89 x 54.61 cm)
Mat : 30 x 36 in. (76.2 x 91.44 cm)
Sheet : 33 x 25 in. (83.82 x 63.5 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection, purchased with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. George Strumbos
LabelThe original Minotaur myth ends when a young Athenian named Theseus is sent to Crete to serve as a sacrificial victim to the Minotaur. Theseus falls in love with King Minos and Queen Pasiphaë’s daughter Ariadne, who reveals to him the secret of using thread to navigate the confusing passageways inside the Labyrinth. Armed with a sword and a spool of thread, Theseus enters the Labyrinth, finds the Minotaur asleep, and kills him. The Minotaur’s death is the most dramatic moment in the myth, yet Ayrton never depicted this event in the ninety-plus works of art he created on this theme. Instead, Ayrton ends the Minotaur’s story with the tormented creature living alone inside the Labyrinth, an eternal symbol of the conflicted and contradictory natures that exist within all of us.