The J. Paul Getty Museum

Fragmentary Imitation Kouros

Object Details


Fragmentary Imitation Kouros






Italy (Place Created)


20th century


Dolomitic marble

Object Number:



101 × 45 × 24 cm (39 3/4 × 17 11/16 × 9 7/16 in.)

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Object Description

This statue is a modern work reassembled from several pieces: the legs and torso are joined as 90.AK.43; the head (here replicated in a cast, which is joined to the torso) is 92.AK.29. The nude male figure stands frontally with its left leg slightly advanced of the right. The arms are held at the sides with the hands and wrists attached to the upper thighs. The hair is styled with two rows of drilled curls on the forehead, separated by a fillet from the rest of hair, which is arranged in beaded rows falling down the neck to the upper back. The brownish color of the fake torso is the result of an attempt to make the surface look ancient by coating it with iron oxide, a technique easily reproduced in a laboratory. The head does not have this brownish color, since it was apparently removed before this treatment. Acquired by the Museum for research, this modern torso and head share some stylistic similarities with the Getty kouros. These include the sloping shoulders and rounded upper arms, the full chest, the pattern of the abdominal muscles, and the abstract details of the hands. These features, and the fact that, like the Getty Kouros, the piece is carved from dolomitic marble from the island of Thasos, have led some scholars to conclude that this statue was carved by the same sculptor who made the Getty Kouros. However, telltale signs left by modern tools on the statue here, such as marks left by a power drill on the head and torso, and evidence that the sculpture was bathed in acid clearly show that it is a modern forgery. No such signs of modern working techniques have been found on the surface of the Getty Kouros.

- 1990

Rodolphe Haller SA, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990.

The Getty Kouros (May 1, 1992 to September 5, 1993)
  • Goulandris Museum of Natural History (Athens), May 1 to July 31, 1992
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 19 to September 5, 1993

Spier, Jeffery. "Blinded by Science: The Abuse of Science in the Detection of False Antiquities." Burlington Magazine 132, no. 1050 (September 1990), pp. 623-31, pp. 628-31; figs. 10-11.

Kokkou, Angeliki, ed. The Getty Kouros Colloquium: Athens, May 25-27, 1992 (Athens: Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation, Museum of Cycladic Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993).

Scott, David A. Art: authenticity, restoration, forgery. (Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2016), .a is published; see record for details.