Inv. No. 56039. Rome, Roman National Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme Photo by Sergey Sosnovskiy
Inv. No. 56039.
Rome, Roman National Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
(Museo nazionale romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme)
From Castelporziano, the ancient Porcigliano, Villa Reale; found in the ruins of a villa of the beginning of the Imperial period.
The statue, headless and missing its lower legs, right arm and the fingers of the left hand, is composed of fourteen fragments and shows the traces of an old restoration in plaster in several places (on the left thigh, the palm-trunk support and the base).
Ht. 148 cm (with the base); inv. 56039.
As with the Lancellotti Discobolus, this statue depicts the culminating moment of action just before the throw. The athlete, whose body is thrown forward in a movement of violent rotation, concentrates his weight onto his right leg; of the missing pieces, the corresponding arm, which carried the discus, was stretched out behind, and the left arm inscribed a deep arc grazing the right knee. There are several divergences from the Lancellotti Discobolus, which allow one to speak of a “version,” rather than a faithful replica, of the original generally attributed to Myron. The left shoulder is closer to the ground and the torso more strongly twisted towards the spectator, elements which confer a greater three-dimensionality compared to the Lancellotti Discobolus and which have been interpreted by Fuchs as modifications posterior to the age of Myron and reprised in the Augustan period, when the statue was executed. This proposed date is consistent with its provenance; the statue in fact comes from a villa built in the Augustan period and reconstructed circa AD 140. On the other hand, D. Candilio, following previous studies, maintains the date in the Hadrianic period. In the Baths of Vedius in Ephesus, a complex of the mid-second century AD, a copy of the Discobolus was fortuitously found which formed part of a larger sculptural group alluding to the imperial cult; this discovery has prompted Manderscheid to formulate the suggestive hypothesis that the placement of statues inside Roman thermae (usually in the palestrae) represented an element of the Hellenic paideia in a structure which for the Romans represented the ideal continuation of the Greek gymnasium.
Museo Nazionale Romano, Le sculture, A. Giuliano ed., I, 1 (Roma, 1979), p. 180, no. 117 (D. Candilio);
H. Manderscheid, Die Sculpturenausstattung der kaiserzeitlichen Thermenanlagen, Berlin, 1981, p. 43 ff.