The antique marble group of the Wrestlers was discovered, together with the Niobe Group, in 1583 near Porta S. Giovanni, Rome. Later that year, the Wrestlers were purchased by Cardinal Ferdinando di Medici and eventually placed in the Villa Medici in Rome. In 1667, the group was sent to Florence and was placed in the Tribuna of the Uffizi until 1800, when it was moved to Palermo to escape the French. The Wrestlers were returned to the Tribuna in 1803 where they remain today.
The antique marble was widely copied. A wax copy (by Caccini) is recorded in 1585; Phillip IV of Spain ordered a cast in 1650; Louis XIV ordered two marble versions from Jean Cornu between 1675 and 1679 for Versailles (now lost), and from P. Magnier between 1684 and 1687 for Marly. Soldani made full-scale bronze copies in the 18th Century and in the 19th Century, lead and plaster casts were also common. Canova made a terracotta copy from the cast in the Farsetti collection and both Righetti and Zoffoli iffered their own bronze reductions (see F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, 1981, pp. 337-9).