The Boxer at rest. An ancient masterpiece, special guest Gay Talese | Eni Video Channel


I am Gay Talese This is the boxer This magnificent and ancient statue the boxer is a representation of mankind’s long-lasting concern with fear In times here, centuries before the birth of Christ and just yesterday in some arena, in some country in this part of the world a boxer looking rather like this has confronted fear There’s nothing like boxing, among all the endeavors which confront singly the fear of being beaten and not only being beaten but being beaten in public in front of a large audience of spectators In order to do that you have to have both a sense of humility and a sense of courage that surpasses the endeavors of most men even powerful men The statue still bears the scars that the artist afflicted to this face way back in the era before the birth of Christ but it’s a contemporary picture
This is a man I have spoken to myself In my own life as a sportswriter with the New York Times — and I’ve talked to every prize fighter rank probably in the last half century I would suspect much of what I heard from the fighters of my time were also represented by way of expression and maybe even {unclear} by fighters of this time Reflecting in my memory on many many nights on the side of the ring
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when I watched such battlers as this try to do in front of a large crowd at the proper moment the very best they could do to wreak havoc on their opponent And if the reverse happened, and if they where the recipient of this kind of physical punishment that only a boxer knows then they had to deal with accepting in a solitary moment all the blame Nobody suffers in solitude as a prize fighter does in the moment of disappointment and defeat Myself worse than others will go into their locker room with their towels on the floor and their trainers all around and I’m asking the man questions: What happened? What happened? Did you see that punch? Did you see it coming? They don’t really try to evade questions I guess because they realize that soon they will not be called upon to explain themselves because inevitably they will drift into obscurity And so, when we look into a boxer we have to think of vulnerability And this is the human condition with which we can identify because we are all in peril we all die and we all know what it’s like to have the final round in our life ahead of us So, all of us have a sense of termination So, I guess when we look and ask for questions to the man to the boxer what happened we can ask that question of our own life as we sit for our final hour What happened? What happened? and we don’t know So it is the unknowingness really that has the symbolic appeal of this life first of concentration and then the life of confrontation and finally the consciousness that it is all in past tense as your life ends as a performer and will soon end as an occupant of space So we learn about tragedy from people whose experiences we cannot share nor do we want to share No one wants to share the life the solitary life of losses and wins and losses that a fighter represents for all times

26 thoughts on “The Boxer at rest. An ancient masterpiece, special guest Gay Talese | Eni Video Channel

  1. I once saw an old 19thC black and white photo of when this statue was found……the people were standing some 20 -30 feet above at ground level…..it was a great photo with shovels next to the boxer.

  2. It's like that one piece by Blind Willie Johnson, Cold was the Night, that represents a feeling no man is unfamiliar with, the cold of night, the uncertainty. Here like Mr. Talese said, it's the fear of defeat. I wonder if the subject of this piece also had an ancient cutman right next to him, screaming in his ear: "Get up and fight ya bum!"

  3. for me, this is the greatest sculpture i've ever seen. It says so much about the truth of life, the artist really captured the human condition….epic sculpture.

  4. The cauliflower ears show the attention to detail. If the sculptor didn't base this on one man he did at least closely study boxers.

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