Greek Marble Polychrome Sculpture of a Heroic Male Youth

SKU X.0019



1st century BC – 1st century AD


24″ (61.0cm) high





Gallery Location



When we picture the glories of the Classical Era, we imagine impressive ruins like the Athenian Acropolis and the Roman Forum, or think of famed sculptures preserved in museums like the Venus de Milo or the Discobolus. While these representative structures and sculptures reveal the masterful artistry of antiquity, they are lacking in regards to one important aspect: color. During the golden age of Greece and Rome, every architectural detail and sculpted effigy was decorated in vibrant polychrome to enhance and enliven the work. Alas, the ravages of time have wreaked havoc upon this delicate pigment, except in a few extraordinary cases, this marble sculpture of a youth being one such rare example. Wearing a cape known as chlamys where the original red pigment is preserved largely intact, this heroic youth stands with his left arm held at his side, relaxed. The chlamys is consistent with representations of the god Hermes or the Dioscurii twins, better known as the constellation Castor and Pollux, as well as hunters such as Meleager and Adonis. Beauty was so idealized in antiquity, that sometimes we cannot be sure if a work represents a powerful god or a mere mortal. While the modeling of this sculpture is impressive in itself, it is the painted highlights and its exquisite state of preservation that make it so extraordinary.

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