Torso of Actaeon


Unknown Roman, A.D. 1 – 200, Marble

Only the torso and part of one arm of this Roman statue survive, but they provide clues to the sculpture’s original appearance. The firm, well-muscled torso indicates that the statue represented a young man. A chlamys, or short cloak, is fastened around his neck, then pulled to one side, and wrapped around his extended right arm. This combination of nudity and a short cloak suggests that the statue represents a hero or mythological figure. Furthermore, the torsion in the abdominal muscles point to a twisting and violent motion in the figure’s pose. Similar representations survive of the young man Actaeon, who had the misfortune of seeing Diana, the virgin goddess of the hunt, naked. She punished Actaeon by transforming him into a stag and setting his own hunting dogs on him. This statue may have depicted Actaeon, still in human form, whirling around to defend himself as his dogs attack.

Source : Getty Museum

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