This Roman gladiator is a direct revival of classical antiquity based on a known source. This small bronze, as well as the other bronzes in the exhibition, helped Renaissance knowledge expand across the modern world, since art was dispersed throughout Europe. Also, like many bronzes, this object may have been made from a unique mold and thus never reproduced, unless the artist took a cast of the original. A humanist might have been the commissioner of this bronze, since such people were very interested in the revival of both classical texts and classical art. Unfortunately for us, the collectors of these bronzes did not feel it was important to record whether a bronze was an original, first copy, or second copy; and their records seldom allude to the artist's name.
In its active, unstable pose-almost like a photograph taken just as the subject is in the act of throwing something--the figure recalls a tradition of dramatic movement dating back to the Greek sculptor Myron's Diskobolos, made in 450 B.C.E. Its immediate source, however, is the so-called Borghese Gladiator, a marble statue from Greece or Asia Minor, ca. 100 B.C.E., discovered sometime before 1611 in the ruins of Emperor Nero's villa. The collector of this bronze may have wanted to study the form of the human body, or might have wanted a statuette resembling the ancient gladiator, because, immediately upon being unearthed, it was widely admired.
Citation: From the essay by Lauren Williams, in "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, 41.
|Dimensions||H-17.5 W-12.75 D-10.5 inches|
|Year Range from||1500.0|
|Year Range to||1600.0|
16th century AD
Greek and Roman
|Exhibition and Publication History||
*"Queens College Art Collection," First Supplement, 1961, p. 4, #352.
* Exhibited Staten Island, Museum of Archeology, 1980-81
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 41, ill.