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A GREEK MARBLE HEAD OF AN ATHLETE
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF LYNN WOLFSON
A GREEK MARBLE HEAD OF AN ATHLETE

HELLENISTIC PERIOD, CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GREEK MARBLE HEAD OF AN ATHLETE
HELLENISTIC PERIOD, CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C.
Depicted lifesized, with idealized features and a melancholy expression, turned to his right and slightly inclined, his smooth oval face with delicate features, including gently-arching modeled brows merging with the bridge of his slender nose and overhanging the narrow eyes, with thick lids, the bow-shaped lips gently pressed together, the chin rounded, his hair loosely arranged in rows of short curls and bound in a fillet, with several curls overlapping the band behind his ears
12 ¼ in. (31.1 cm.) high
Provenance
Acquired by Lynn Wolfson (1927-2012), Washington D.C. and Miami, prior to 2000, likely circa 1976.

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Lot Essay

Athletic competitions were held throughout the Greek world at numerous Panhellenic centers, including Olympia, Athens, Delphi, Nemea and Isthmia. The earliest were thought to have been held at Olympia in 776 B.C. The victors were frequently honored by their home cities through the dedication of an honorary statue, either of bronze or marble. Many such statues survive, some Greek originals, frequently attributed to major sculptors such as Lysippos or Praxiteles, and some Roman copies or interpretations. For a full figure of an athlete, thought to be a Roman copy based on a work by Lysippos, see the marble figure in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, no. 124 in J.J. Herrmann and C. Kondoleon, Games for the Gods, The Greek Athlete and the Olympic Spirit. For another marble that shares a similar incline of the head and the wearing of a victor's fillet, also thought to be a Roman copy of a Greek original, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, see no. 154 in Herrmann and Kondoleon, op. cit. The present head has a freshness and vitality that suggest it is a Hellenistic original of the 2nd century B.C. For a head of similar date, thought to be either Herakles or an athlete, see the marble in the British Museum, no. 364 in J. Boardman, "Herakles," in LIMC, vol. IV.

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