|Collection:||Athens, National Archaeological Museum|
|Findspot:||Found at Olympia, north of the Prytaneion, in the Sanctuary of Zeus (in 1880)|
|Summary:||Head of a boxer|
|Sculptor:||Suggested attribution to Silanion|
|Sculpture Type:||Free-standing statue|
|Original or Copy:||Original|
|Date:||ca. 350 BC - ca. 325 BC|
|Dimensions:||H. 0.28 m|
Subject Description: This rare work of Classical bronze portraiture shows an aging man, with sagging cheeks, squinted eyes with crow's feet, and a fleshy, knitted brow. The swollen lid of the right eye and the puffy cheeks seems to indicate the injuries that the athlete would have suffered. He is bearded and his hair is curly and tousled, radiating from a central point on the back of the head. A wreath on his head indicates that he was a victor. The wreath is comprised of a branch twisted at the back, with its ends cut at angles. Gouges in the branch, at regular intervals (0.02 m apart) mark the location of missing leaves.
Form & Style: Because of the high quality of the workmanship scholars have attempted to attribute this work to a particular artist. A favored candidate is the Athenian sculptor, Silanion, who was known to have made a portrait of a boxer, Satyros of Elis (victor in the 332 or 328 Olympic games), which Pausanias saw at Olympia:
Condition: Head only (nearly complete)
Condition Description: The portrait is broken off at the neck. The tip of the nose has corroded away, as has the surface of the mustache. Only two leaves of the wreath remain.
The curls were cast separately and then soldered to the head. The inlaid eyes rested on ledges ca. 0.02 m wide. The lips are also inlaid, so that they are sharply delineated although they seem to have been made of the same metal as the head. No teeth are visible. Details on the hair and beard were inlaid, with a finer blade used for the twisting curl ends, and yet a finer blade (?) used to mark the herringbone pattern of the eyebrows.
Mattusch (86) notes that the the top of the head was cast separately, and joined at the wreath, so that the curls above and below do not match up.
60. Programm zum Winckelmannsfeste (Berlin 1900) 16;