Tuesday, June 22, 2004


An ancient bronze sculpture of a young Apollo has landed in Cleveland:
The Cleveland Museum of Art has bought what it thinks is an ancient bronze sculpture of Apollo the Lizard Slayer by the classical Greek sculptor Praxiteles. If it is authentic, it will be one of the most important ancient bronzes in an American museum.

About five feet tall, the bronze Apollo originally depicted the young god pulling back a laurel sapling with his left hand while holding an arrow aimed at a lizard with his right. The image is known from two marble copies from the Roman period, in the Louvre and the Vatican.

Impressively, the statue is known to us from the writings of Pliny the Elder:
The Roman historian Pliny the Elder saw what he considered to be the original sculpture in the first century. "Although Praxiteles was more successful and therefore more famous for his marble sculptures, he nevertheless also created beautiful works in bronze," Pliny wrote. "He made a youthful Apollo called Sauroktonos (Lizard Slayer), waiting in ambush for a creeping lizard, close at hand, with an arrow."

If the work is Greek and of the classical period, it will be the only monumental Greek bronze sculpture attributed to any Greek master through literary sources.

Perhaps even more interesting than the Rock & Roll museum.

No comments: