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Home > Auctions > 4th June 2024 > Roman Veined Marble Torso of an Athlete

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LOT 0137

GBP (£) 50,000 - 70,000
EUR (€) 58,700 - 82,180
USD ($) 63,720 - 89,200

Opening Bid
£27,778 (EUR 32,613; USD 35,398) (+bp*)

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25 1/4 in. (42.95 kg total, 64 cm high including stand).

Standing contrapposto with his weight on his right leg and the left leg brought slightly forward; the musculature of the torso displaying well-defined pectoral muscles, prominent abdominal muscles and wide shoulders, the back with equally toned musculature and well-formed rounded buttocks; the veining of the marble accentuating the idealised anatomy; the now-absent head was most probably turned towards the supporting leg and the left arm would have been raised; mounted on a custom-made display stand.

Formerly in a French private collection in Compiègne, since the 1960s.
Acquired from Galerie Chenel, 2015.

Accompanied by a copy of a French cultural passport no.166817.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Laura Maria Vigna.

Lyndsey Ingram, Lines of Enquiry, London, 17 September - 8th November 2019, pp.36-37.

See Pozzi, E., Cantilena, R., La Rocca, E., Pannuti, U., Scatozza, L.,Le Collezioni del Museo Archeologico di Napoli, La scultura greco-romana, Le sculture antiche della Collezione Farnese, Le collezioni monetali, Le oreficerie, La collezione glittica, Milano, 1989, pp. 100-101, nn. 31-32; Cadario, M., Doriforo della “Palestra Sannitica”,’ in La Regina, A. (ed.), Nike. Il gioco e la vittoria, Milano, 2003, pp. 214 ss.; Adembri, B., Torso di Doriforo, in Reggiani A.M. & Sapelli Ragni, M., Eroi e atleti. L’ideale estetico nell’arte da Olimpia a Roma a Torino 2006, Torino, 2006, pp.140ss.; Zevi, F., Demma, F., Nuzzo, E., Rescigno, C., Valeri, C., Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei, Catalogo generale, 1, Cuma, Napoli, 2008, p.334; Franciosi, V., Il “Doriforo” di Pompei, in Franciosi, V., Thémelis, P.G., Pompei/Messene. Il “Doriforo” e il suo contesto,Mediterraneo Miti Storia Armonia, 2 Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa, Napoli, 2013, pp.11-33.

The model of the sculpture recalls the Polykleitian tradition. In particular, the tension of the muscles of the athletic body recalls the Doryphoros of Polykleitos, a famous bronze sculpture erected in Argos in around 450-440 B.C., as evidenced by a stele found there. The statue represented a hero, perhaps Achilles, or a winning athlete. Many Hellenistic and Roman copies of this sculpture are preserved, most notably in marble. These include the Tiberian-era Doryphoros in the National Museum of Naples, from Pompeii, the nude male statue, a copy of the Doryphoros of Polykleitos, in the Doria Pamphilj Collection, dated to the end of the 1st century A.D. The raised left shoulder is reminiscent of the Diadumenos, a work by the same artist made in Argos in around 430-420 B.C., depicting an athlete girding his head with ribbons or fillets, a symbol of victory, known from many copies. The Polykleitos original and the subsequent copies were enormously popular and became canonical representations of physical perfection and refinement.