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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Athlete Pouring Oil

Sport formed part of religious festivals in ancient Greece, and victors were given the accolade of sculptures and inscriptions to commemorate them. Athletes rubbed oil on their bodies before and after exercising and sporting competitions, and oil was sometimes given as a prize to winners. Oil was sacred, being a gift from the gods, and was an integral part of religious ceremonies. The oil bottle (aryballos) and scraper (strigil) can be seen hanging on the support by the athlete’s left leg.

The missing right arm would have been raised above his head holding the oil, pouring it from a small vessel into his left hand. The sculpture is one of several Roman copies of a Greek bronze original

Number: 
260
Material: 
Marble
Location of Original: 

Dresden, Albertinum 67

Size: 
1.78m
Accession: 

Purchased in 1884 from Dresden

References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 218 & 227
cf. Lippold: pl. 78.1&2
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 31, no.117
Hermann: Catalogue of the Dresden Museum, 25
Knoll et al: Die Antiken im Albertinum (1993), 23

Date: 
Roman. Original: early C4 BCE
Sculptor: 
School of Lysippos (?)
Provenance: 

From Rome

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