July 15, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013 - ,, No comments

Rome's Greek bronze statue "Boxer at Rest" visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art through July 15, 2013

Photo from The Met: Boxer at Rest (Greek bronze)
Tomorrow (July 15) is the last day to view the ancient Greek statue, The Boxer, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of 2013 - Year of Italian Culture in the United States, an initiative held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., with the support of the Corporate Ambassadors Eni and Intesa Sanpaolo. From The Met's website:
The bronze statue Boxer at Rest was excavated in Rome in 1885 on the south slope of the Quirinal Hill near the ancient Baths of Constantine, where it is thought to have been displayed. The statue was intentionally buried in late antiquity, possibly to preserve it against the barbarian invasions that ravaged Rome in the fifth century A.D.
Scholars have long debated the date of the statue, which is most likely between the late fourth and the second century B.C. The sculpture is an exceptional work in bronze from the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.) and is of outstanding artistic value.
The statue was cast using the indirect lost-wax method. It was made in different sections that were then welded together: head, body, genitals, arms above the gloves, forearms, left leg, and middle toes. The top of the head was restored in antiquity. Although the inset eyes are missing, they would have been convincingly rendered, like a pair in the Metropolitan's collection.
The Greek bronze statue resides at the Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in the vicinity of the Termini Station.

The Boxer at Rest at time of discovery (Courtesy The Met)
Here's a link to the article on The Met's blog, Now at the Met, by Seán Hemingway, Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Art, which describes the discovery of the bronze statue and includes the image above. Hemingway quotes the archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani, an eyewitness present at the statue's excavation:
"I have witnessed, in my long career in the active field of archaeology, many discoveries; I have experienced surprise after surprise; I have sometimes and most unexpectedly met with real masterpieces; but I have never felt such an extraordinary impression as the one created by the sight of this magnificent specimen of a semi-barbaric athlete, coming slowly out of the ground, as if awakening from a long repose after his gallant fights."[1]
Hemingway, Seán. "The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece Comes to the Met". New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/now-at-the-met/features/2013/the-boxer 
[1] R. Lanciani, Ancient Rome in light of recent discoveries (Rome 1888), pp. 305–306.