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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Diskobolos or Discus Thrower

The original of this athlete would have been bronze, and like most Greek bronzes, has not survived. Fortunately the Romans made a number of copies in marble from the Greek original.

This particular copy has an incorrectly restored head. It was common in the eighteenth century to “restore” ancient sculptures without paying too much attention to whether the restored parts really belonged together. The bronze original had its head turned to look back at the discus, as do other more accurate copies, such as the one now in the Vatican. The head was expertly though incorrectly attached in 1792 by a well-known restorer called Albacini for his patron, Charles Townley

Number: 
118
Material: 
Carrara marble
Location of Original: 

London, British Museum 250, Townley Collection

Size: 
1.65m
Accession: 

Donation by H. Sidgwick, who obtained it from Brucciani, 29 May 1880 to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Transferred to the Museum in 1884

References: 

Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 207-9, figs.578-582
Arias: Mirone, 17.4
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 31, no.115
Rhys Carpenter: Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome XVIII (1941), 3-4, pl. 1
Smith: Catalogue of British Museum Sculpture I (1892), 90-1
Vaughan, in Journal of the History of Collections, vol.3, no.2 (1991), 194-5

Date: 
Roman. Original: c.460-450 BCE
Sculptor: 
Of original: Myron
Provenance: 

Found in 1791 in Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli

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