Apollonius, Seated Boxer


(piano playing) Dr. Zucker: Almost always when we look at Greek sculpture we’re
looking at Roman copies, we’re looking at marble copies of what had once been bronze, but bronze is expensive and it’s reusable. So, for the 2000 years since these objects were made there was ample opportunity for them to be melted
down, but once in a while we find a Greek original. Dr. Harris: We’re looking
at the seated Boxer, a Greek Hellenistic
sculpture from about 100 BC. Hellenistic refers to this period after Alexander the Great. Dr. Zucker: This is the
last phase of ancient Greek art because the Hellenistic will end when the Roman’s conquer Greece. Because it’s bronze we have an opportunity to understand how the Greek’s constructed their large scale sculpture. This is lost wax casting
and it would be chase so you could actually carve into portions and we can see that
especially in the beard and in the hair, so those lines are cut into the surface. Dr. Harris: So the sculpture
is hollow in other words. Dr. Zucker: Well we can
see that if you look into the eyes, if you look into the mouth, you can see the hollowness. Now, originally there
would have been eyes, they’re missing. They probably would have been Ivory or some sort of glass
paste, something reflective and highly polished, but yes, we can see that this is quite thin. If we knocked on it, it
would ring like a bell. Dr. Harris: A few moments
ago as we were looking at it there was standing in the very place that he seems to be
looking and I almost felt like he was in actual
dialogue with someone. Dr. Zucker: He has that
tremendous sense of presences, doesn’t he? Dr. Harris: He does. During this Hellenistic
period we see a real expansion of the subject
matter that we usually think of as Greek art. Usually we think about ideal, beautiful, nude, athletic, young figures. Dr. Zucker: This is an athletic figure, but he’s not young and he’s not beautiful in the traditional sense. Dr. Harris: When I look
at him I find parts of him beautiful, but his
face is certainly not. Dr. Zucker: The beauty comes from our understanding of his
life, of his suffering. Instead of through the
elegance and perfection of his body, he’s muscular, he’s powerful, but he’s defeated. Dr. Harris: Yeah, there’s
definitely a sense of pathos, this sculpture
engages us emotionally. Dr. Zucker: The artist has
been careful to make sure that we feel sympathy. He’s inlaid copper into parts of his face where he’s defined
wounds so that the copper functions almost as a more red color against the bronze and
we can see him bleeding. Dr. Harris: Boxing in
Ancient Greece focused mainly to the head, to the
face and that’s why his body looks still so very
beautiful and perfect. When I said before, I still
find him ideally beautiful, I was thinking about
the incredible muscles in his torso. He’s still really thin and athletic, but the face is such a contrast and also his hands all wrapped in leather. The face and the hands ground him in a kind of, reality of a moment. Dr. Zucker: That’s especially
true with his posture. You can see that he’s not simply seated, his torso is collapsing, his head is down, he’s looking up but you
can feel the exhaustion. You can also see the way in which his body has been beaten, the broken nose, the gashes in his face and look at his ear which is swollen and distorted. Dr. Harris: We rarely see seated figures in the Classical Period in Greek art; the figures are standing, they’re noble, they exist in the world
in that heroic way. Just by virtue of just being seated there’s a humility and
humanity to the figure. Dr. Zucker: There’s also a informality. His right leg is out and up on the heel. His left leg is splayed out slightly under the weight of his arm. This is a man who would like to lie down. This is a period in Greek
art when there really is an interest in pathos, in
moving beyond the heroic, moving beyond the
traditional subjects of the ancient world and really
beginning to explore a much wider variety. It’s fascinating. It is this incredibly
sophisticated moment. (piano playing)

12 thoughts on “Apollonius, Seated Boxer

  1. Interestingly enough, he has the same ear bubbling that modern day boxers have due to popped capillary veins from direct blows to the side of the head.

  2. The boxer was feeling the pain of his opponents defeat…remorse, regret for his "opponents" loss of life…

  3. Its BC and AD, unless you fuck wits want to erase the work and brilliance it took to put the calendar together, all for political correctness? Fucking double standard liberals lmao

  4. This piece of artwork inspires me. I feel like that boxer, broken by life's battles yet never willing to quit.. the Greeks would never make a image of a loser, so even battered he emerges victorious.

  5. Caulieflower ears, broken nose, bumps and bruises, not just on the face but also on the back, my case is this might have been a depiction of a pankration fighter and not a boxer. Boxing and Pankration were separate ancient Greek combat sports as depicted in several art pieces and through written records.

  6. Cauliflower ears come from wrestling or grappling, it is EXTREMELY rare that boxers get cauliflower ears, and IF they do, it’s a very small amount. The ears that this statue depicts is from a wrestler/grappler, possibly a pankration fighter.

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