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date: 15 November 2019

Borghese Gladiator [Borghese Warrior]locked

  • Luca Leoncini

Extract

[Borghese Warrior]

This statue (h. 1.99 m; Paris, Louvre) portrays a warrior lunging forward with his shield arm extended and his sword arm drawn back. Signed by Agasias of Ephesos, it is in the stylistic tradition of Lysippos and may be a copy of c. 100 bc of a work by his school. It was found in 1611 at Nettuno, near Rome, and by 1613 it formed part of the Borghese collection of antiquities. By 1650 it was on display in a ground-floor room of the Villa Borghese in Rome, but in 1807 it was sold to Napoleon Bonaparte along with a substantial part of the Borghese collection. In 1811 it was on display in the Salle d’Apollon at the Musée Napoléon in Paris, and by 1815 it had its own room, named in its honour. During the 17th century the statue was unanimously identified as a gladiator, originally holding a sword and/or a shield, and this interpretation is still broadly accepted. Later it was suggested that the figure might represent a boxer or discus thrower. Winckelmann believed that the work portrayed a specific hero or historical figure, and Carlo Fea proposed one of the two Ajaxes or Leonidas; Ennio Quirino Visconti suggested Telamon. The ...

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