This larger-than-life-sized marble statue is a Roman masterwork of the early Imperial era, the period of the emergent Roman Empire. The sculptural style of the head, carved separately and inserted into the torso, identifies it as a Roman original of the middle years of the first century A.D.: the carving and drilling technique of the hair points to a date around the reign of the Roman emperor Nero (A.D. 54–68). Both head and torso are carved from the same distinctive, glistening marble native to the Aegean island of Thasos, where it was quarried.
The statue’s torso tells a different story. In its pose, stance, and anatomical proportions, it clearly reflects the influence of Greek sculpture of the High Classical period (450–430 B.C.), exemplified in the work of the great master Polykleitos. It was Polykleitos, in fact, who instituted a new sculptural standard (or “canon”) of proportions, while developing a more naturalistic style that freed Greek statuary from its earlier, more rigid stance and pose. The Cincinnati statue stands freely with its weight supported on the right leg, while the left is relaxed or slightly bent. The swaying musculature of the back reflects a new sense of torsion characteristic of such statuary.