Friday, August 11, 2017

Boxer at Rest (Hellenistic Greek sculpture)

       The Boxer at Rest is a Hellenistic Greek bronze sculpture of a seated nude boxer wearing only his cestus, an ancient battle glove. It was excavated in Rome in 1885 on the south slope of the Quirinal Hill at the same site as the Baths of Constantine. This surviving statue is considered as a prime example of magnificent bronze sculptures from the ancient world. Sitting on a rock is a battered, exhausted, bloody individual looking upwards. Now, it is displayed in the National Roman Museum.

       Impressively, the statue uses a significant amount of inlaid copper, mainly for his wounds and the drips of blood spotted on different parts of his body. “Extensive cold-working of the statue, especially the hair, was part of the finishing process. The stone base is modern but is probably a close approximation of the ancient base. Originally, the use of stone would have added to the realistic effect so powerfully rendered in the bronze.” (The Boxer, N.D.)

      There are multiple wounds on his body which indicate that he survived an intense battle. Blood is dripping from his cuts onto his forehead, cauliflower ears, cheeks, arms, and thighs. Both of his eyes are swollen and bruised, and he suffered a nose broken as well. Scars on his lips are visible. Despite the physical damage, based on this battered boxer’s body language, he seems tense and ready to challenge another opponent. 

       Ancient Greek boxing also is known as Ancient Olympic boxing was a revered sport. In 688 B.C it was introduced into The Olympic Games. It became a significant competition at major panhellenic games and religious festivals where athletic events were held. Rules for boxing in ancient Greece are different from today. Then, a boxer had to fight one combatant after another without breaks. Additionally, boxers could only deliver punches exclusively to the face and head.

Rosenberg, Karen. “‘The Boxer.’” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 July 2013.

Rosenblatt, Josh. “You Should Fly to Los Angeles to See This Ancient Statue of a Boxer. Seriously.”

“The Boxer.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum


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