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Although he is lacking the helmet and armor common to Mars in Roman iconography, this figure is identified as the ancient god of war. Mars pauses mid-stride, swinging his sword arm back to strike an enemy in his gaze; this dynamic composition is typical of Giambologna’s models. Collectors prized small bronzes such as this and often kept them in special rooms along with antiquities, coins, shells, and other curiosities. Easy to hold and arrange due to their small size, they were appreciated through touch as well as sight.

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Details

  • Title: Mars
  • Creator: Giambologna (Flemish, active Italy, 1529–1608)
  • Date Created: c. 1584–87
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 39 x 18.4 cm (15 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.); with base: 41.6 x 18.5 x 21.4 cm (16 3/8 x 7 5/16 x 8 7/16 in.)
  • Provenance: Catalina von Pannwitz [1876-1959, née Roth], Bennebroek, Netherlands, (Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1964.421
  • Medium: bronze
  • Fun Fact: The active, twisting pose indicates that the statue was designed to be viewed in the round.
  • Department: European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: Italy, 16th century
  • Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
  • Collection: Sculpture
  • Accession Number: 1964.421

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