Disc thrower olympic games statue discobolus greek roman miniature 100% bronze

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Disc Thrower Olympic Games Statue Discobolus Greek Roman Miniature 100% Bronze

Height: 2 inches (5 cm)
Width: 1.2 inches (3 cm)
Depth: 0.8 inches (2 cm)
Weight: 0.10 lbs (47 gr)
Medium : Bronze


The discus-thrower (Gk. discobolus) has become the iconic image of the Olympic Games, and a fantastic representation of the athletic ideal. The original Greek statue was cast in bronze in the mid-fifth century BC1 and continued to be much admired as a masterpiece into Roman times, when several copies were made before the original was lost. Thus, the Discobolus image lives-on today as one of the most famous sculptures from ancient times.

The original Discobolus is attributed to the Greek sculptor Myron, a contemporary of Pheidias and Polykleitos and famous in antiquity for his representations of athletes. His discus-thrower was admired not only for the way it conveys movement and action in a single pose, but also for capturing Greek ideals about proportion, harmony, rhythm and balance. Experts since antiquity have noted how the fluidity of movement in the body combines with a calm expression on the face, as if the thrower has achieved a perfect state of control in mind, body and spirit. Or did Myron’s desire for perfection led him to suppress the thrower’s emotions?

Roman versions of the Discobolus adorned numerous villas as a symbol of the cultured taste and status of the owner. One of the most famous is the Palombara Discobolus from Rome, now on display in the National Museum of Rome. This statue was notoriously sold to Adolf Hitler in 1938 as a trophy of the Aryan race, but returned to Italy in 1948.

Another Roman version, known as the Townley Discobolus, was pictured on the official poster for the London Olympics in 1948. It is now in the British Museum. The Discobolus or “discus thrower” is one of the most iconic artworks of classical antiquity. Originally sculpted in bronze by an Athenian man called Myron (born in the fortress-city of Eleutherae in the 5th century BC), the statue has gained fame largely through its many bronze and marble copies made by the Romans.

The sculpture was well-known in the ancient world. The Roman rhetorician and satirist Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 125 – c. AD 180) mentioned Myron in a work called Philopseudes. In a dialogue between characters Tychiades and Philocles, we find the lines:

Roman bronze copy of Myron’s Discobolus, 2nd century AD, Glyptothek, Munich, Germany
Have you never noticed as you came to that beautiful one in the court, by Demetrius the portrait-sculptor?’ ‘Is that the one with the quoit, –leaning forward for the throw, with his face turned back towards the hand that holds the quoit, and one knee bent, ready to rise as he lets it go?’ ‘Ah, that is a fine piece of work, too, –a Myron;…

~ FromThe Works of Lucian of Samosata (2011, translated by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler)

The Townley Discobolus at the British Museum, London, UK. Roman copy with incorrectly restored head. Named after the English connoisseur Charles Townley.
The Discobolus is a physically gorgeous, young male athlete frozen in the pose of launching his disc. Although he is involved in a demanding situation, his face and body are unusually relaxed and composed. His head is turned towards his sporting equipment (but in some restorations he is “wrongly” looking ahead). In his 1956 book The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form , the British art historian and aesthete Kenneth Clark (1903-1983) observed that Myron captures two particular qualities – rhythmos (harmony and balance) and symmetria (bodily proportion). Regarding the action of the discus thrower, Clark wrote:

Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible…to a modern eye, it may seem that Myron’s desire for perfection has made him suppress too rigorously the sense of strain in the individual muscles.

Over the centuries, notes Dr. Ian Jenkins (The Many Sides of Myron’s Discobolus’, June 2012, the British Museum), a curator at the British Museum and expert in ancient Greek sculpture, the statue has acquired many meanings. In addition to being a depiction of athletic perfection, it has been a paradigm of homoeroticism and a piece of political identification. According to Jenkins, the Discobolus is “arguably the most famous statue in the world.”

Poster for Olympia: Festival of Beauty (1938), Wikipedia
In the twentieth century, however, the legacy of the Discobolus was significantly darkened due to its connection with the Third Reich. Hitler was so infatuated with the statue that in 1938, he bought a copy of it (known as the Discobolus Lancellotti or the Discobolus Palombara) for five million lire from Galeazzo Ciano, the Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy from 1936 to 1943.

In an article on BBC Culture, British art critic Alastair Sooke writes that the Nazis drew much aesthetic inspiration from the art of Ancient Greece and the Discobolus in particular featured prominently in the opening sequence of the two-party 1938 film Olympia, which documented the Berlin Olympics (also known as the “Nazi Olympics”) that had taken place two years earlier. Olympia was directed by the acclaimed German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003), who, in 1935, had made the innovative Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Although, her involvement with the Nazis greatly damaged her film career, Riefenstahl lived a long and fairly comfortable life. She denied knowing about the Holocaust and won several libel cases


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