Posted on 09/04/2014

Photo taken on July  3, 2012

See also...



Authorizations, license

Visible by: Everyone
All rights reserved

161 visits

Detail of the Hands of the Boxer in the Palazzo Massimo in Rome, July 2012

Detail of the Hands of the Boxer in the Palazzo Massimo in Rome, July 2012
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. The broad-shouldered, lanky pugilist is depicted just after a match sitting on a boulder to rest after the unnerving tension of the fight. Something catches his eye and makes him turn his head: perhaps the applause of the spectators or the entrance of his next opponent?

In his athletic nakedness, he wears only boxing gloves and a sort of athletic suspender (kynodèsme) that was both protective and an element of decorum. The many wounds to his head, the primary target in ancient Greek boxing matches, make clear that he has just completed a match. Blood, represented by inlaid copper, drips from cuts on his forehead, cheeks, and cauliflower ears. His right eye is swollen and bruised. His nose is broken, and he breathes through his mouth, probably because his nostrils are blocked by blood. His inwardly drawn lips are scarred, likely indicating that his teeth have been pushed in or knocked out. Despite his exhaustion, the muscles in his arms and legs are still tense, as if the battered champion were ready to spring up and face a new combatant.

The iconography draws inspiration from two statues of Herakles sculpted by Lysippos in the fourth century B.C., thereby associating the momentary rest of a victorious athlete to that of a mythical hero who embodies the ideals of virtue and strength. It is, therefore, possible that the statue was meant to celebrate a mythical or real boxer who was glorified for his endurance and courage. 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.

Text from:


to write a comment.