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Victorious Youth

Unknown300 - 100 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A naked youth stands with his weight on his right leg, crowning himself with a wreath, probably olive. The olive wreath was the prize for a victor in the Olympic Games and identifies this youth as a victorious athlete. The eyes of the figure were originally inlaid with colored stone or glass paste and the nipples were inlaid with copper, creating naturalistic color contrasts. Found in the sea in international waters, this statue is one of the few life-size Greek bronzes to have survived; as such, it provides much information on the technology of ancient bronze casting. The origin of the statue is unknown, but either Olympia or the youth's hometown is possible. Romans probably carried the statue off from its original location during the first century B.C. or A.D., when Roman collecting of Greek art was at its height. The Roman ship carrying it may have foundered, preserving the statue for centuries in the sea.

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