A Torso of an Athlete

Greek

Marble Height 53 cm (20.9 in.) Greek - Second half of second century BC

This high quality, slightly under life-sized torso of an idealised Greek athlete is both powerful and expressive. The representation of the pubic hair indicates that the youth is past childhood. The beginnings of the thighs reveal that the figure stood in contrapposto, a pose that found its culmination in the works of Polykleitos and his followers. In accordance with the principles of contrapposto, one of the arms was probably akimbo whilst the other hung at ease by the figure’s side. The dynamism of the Doryphoros (ca. 450 B.C.), the prime example of the Polykleitan canon of forms is not yet attained by our torso. This is evidenced by the hardly perceptible shifts of the body axes, ie. in the only slightly lowered hip of the free leg and the almost horizontal shoulder line. The torso as a whole appears fairly static and thus is close to the sculptures of the Severe Style, as exemplified by the Kritios Boy (circa 480 BC). Here too, there is a charming contrast between the plastically pronounced, fairly broad upper body and the slender hips and thighs.

In Antiquity, it was a widespread practice to study the art works of previous eras. Especially in the Hellenistic Period in which our torso was probably sculpted, the artists and workshops seemed to enjoy copying well-known statue types, to vary them and also to reinterpret them. Signs of deposition in a marine environment are visible on the surface. Worn with minor fillings.

EXHIBITOR

Cahn

"Ancient Art"

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