Monday, July 2, 2012

Greek Statues in the Vatican Museum

After the Romans conquered Greece they understood that Greece conquered Rome, through its education, philosophy, religion, traditions, history... That is why, today, one can find some Greek statues in one of the richest museums in the world, i.e. the Vatican Museum. However, it is important to state that through this contact the Romans copied many ancient Greek statues, which are only found in their copy form.

 One of the most famous Greek statues found in the Vatican Museum is the "Belvedere Torso", which entered the museum between 1530 and 1536, where it became one of the ancient sculptures most greatly admired by artists down to the present day. 

Interpreted in various ways over the centuries, today the sculpture is believed to represent the Greek hero Ajax Telamonius contemplating suicide. This interpretation is based on hypothetical plaster reconstructions and analysis of other finds, including the famous Tabula Iliaca  which shows a seated figure described as "the crazed Ajax". According to the myth, the warrior was driven mad when Ulysees took Achille's weapons from him. Convinced that he was face to face with the enemy, he massacred the animals held in the Greek camp then, having regained his senses, killed himself for shame. 

Ancient authors record that a commemorative monument was erected to the hero on the plain of Troy where there must have been a statue, numerous copies of which were made in Roman times. Our example can be traced to this series of replicas, having been created in the 1st century BC by the Athenian sculpture Apollonios, as attested by his signature incised in Greek letters on the rock like base of the statue. 

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