Statuette of a Boxer

Object Details

Title:

Statuette of a Boxer

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Date:

A.D. 100–200

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

96.AB.191

Dimensions:

5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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A short-legged, muscular man strides forward with fists up, ready to fight. Portrayed with a receding hairline, a broad face, and a short, trimmed beard, the boxer is nude, except for his caesti or boxing gloves. Romans were intrigued by people with achondroplasia, a medical condition in which the ends of the long bones fail to grow, resulting in short stature with disproportionately short limbs.

Rich Romans might keep such a person, historically referred to as a dwarf, in their households for entertainment. Ancient writers also noted the belief that dwarves, and especially those with hunched backs, had the power to ward off evil. Greek authors, such as Aristotle, had earlier noted that the most distinctive features of dwarves were short, bowed legs and large genitals. The statuette depicts those features, but does not otherwise caricature the man. This realistic but not sensationalistic rendering suggests a date in the first or second centuries A.D.

Provenance
- 1991

Charles Ede, Ltd., sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1991.

1991 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman

-

and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Bibliography