Unknown Greek, ‘A Torso of an Athlete’, Late Hellenistic, Roman, 1st cent. B.C., Cahn International

The athlete would have rested the weight of his nude body on his engaged left leg, while the right thigh, thrust forward and turned outward, allows us to reconstruct the original position of the free leg. The resulting ponderation, visualized by the line of the hip, is answered by a slightly lowered left shoulder. Thus the whole upper body is infused with a restrained dynamism, whose rhythm also informs the gentle curve of the Linea alba, flanked on either side by flatly modelled pectoral muscles. The flesh around the navel is animated by softly modelled muscular masses. The inguinal line at first slopes away steeply below the prominent hip muscles, but later flattens out into the arch of the groin. The more coarsely worked reverse features compact, flatly modelled glutei and a soft depression along the line of the backbone. In style, our torso belongs to the tradition of Classical, Late Hellenistic sculpture, which by revisiting works from the Classical Greek Period (5th cent. B.C.) brought forth countless reinterpretations and new creations, which in turn spawned numerous replicas and variants. The “Stephanos Athlete”, named after the sculptor Stephanos, who immortalized himself on the said statue as a “pupil of Pasiteles”, may provide an impressive example of this. With his highly developed musculature and above all his finely articulated pubic hair, however, our torso seems to have overstepped the upper age limit of an ephebe. Remains of supports underneath the hips on both sides.

Formerly Coll. K. Jouby and R. Staniforth, acquired 1972 in London.

About Unknown Greek