Croatian Apoxyomeno

Croatian Apoxyomeno
Croatian Apoxyomeno

When we think of the sculpture of an apoxyomene, the marble piece made by the artist Lisipo instinctively comes to mind and has been consecrated as one of the most important sculptural works of classical antiquity. However, we have to explain that, in reality, when we talk about an apoxyomene we are not referring to a specific work, but rather a sculptural typology such as an Apollo or a Venus.

The apoxyomene is one of the most recurring themes in Greek statuary and therefore also in Roman; It is about a young athlete who, with the strigil or scraper, removes the remains of oil or sweat from his body. Most of the time, the theme of the athlete was an excuse to represent the naked human body, recreating itself in the musculature of young Greeks.


The work we are analyzing here is en titled The Croatian Apoxyomeno and it is a round sculpture made of bronze that appeared in 1996 in the Adriatic Sea,specifically between the islet of Vele Orjule and the island of Mali Losinj. It seems that the place where the piece was found was part of a famous trade route and experts consider the possibility that it ended up at the bottom of the sea as a kind of offering to the gods or perhaps due to some storm.

The famous sculpture was discovered by a diver of Belgian origin in 1997 althoughIt was not taken out of the water until two years later, in 1999. Due to the salinization to which the work had been exposed, the first thing that had to be done was to put it in a freshwater pool so that it could be cleaned later. The statue had a hollow interior in which different plant and material elements were found that tell us about a dating between the fourth and third centuries B.C.

Due to its composition, the sculpture is composed of seven different arts that were later assembled together, some experts raise the possibility that it is an original Greek piece and not a Roman copy made from a greek original. If true, it would be very likely that the sculpture would have belonged to Lysippus to whom more than eight sculptures of this type are awarded.

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