Statuette of a Diskobolos

Object Details


Statuette of a Diskobolos






Etruria (Place created)


480 B.C.




8.5 × 5.5 × 2.5 cm (3 3/8 × 2 3/16 × 1 in.)

See more

See less

This Etruscan statuette depicts a young athlete about to throw the discus. Grasping the discus in his extended right hand, he holds his left arm up for balance. The unknown artist has caught the athlete in the moment before he makes his throw. In the ancient world, the discus throw was not an independent event, but part of the pentathlon. In both Greek and Etruscan society, the youthful, lithe, triumphant athlete was considered the height of human perfection. Images of athletes on imported Greek vases inspired the broad outlines of Etruscan depictions of athletes. Yet, Etruscan artists reinterpreted the Greek model. The squat proportions, large head, and boldly carved musculature of this youth are distinctly Etruscan.

Etruscan bronzesmiths elaborated utensils and furniture with figural ornament. This statuette, for example, probably once stood atop the central pole of an Etruscan candelabrum. Athletes, as well as warriors, Dionysiac figures, and offering bearers, were popular ornament for candelabra.

by 1995 - 1997

Robert E. Hecht, Jr., American, 1919 - 2012 (New York, New York), by exchange to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997.

Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 1 to April 15, 2002)
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), February 1 to April 15, 2002

Robert E. Hecht, Jr. From a North American Collection of Ancient Art. (New York: n.p., spring, 1995), p. 5, ill.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 64.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 2002), p. 30.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014), pp. 71, 73, fig. 51.