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“Wounded Warrior”

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A wounded warrior
"Wounded Warrior"

“Wounded warrior” sometimes also called “Farnese Gladiator” (from the collection of which he was part in modern times). The sculpture dates from the second century CE and is of course a Roman copy of an older Greek work probably made in the 5th century BCE (and for that reason alone he can’t portray a gladiator). According to ancient artistic convention, the figure is naked. This does not mean, however, that the ancient warriors did indeed fight without clothing. Such a performance is only to emphasize the heroism and beauty of the human body (so-called heroic nudity).

The sculpture is unique. Although it is hardly visible in the photo, in reality, two wounds were carved on the torso of the figure on both sides. Streams of blood flow from them. Pay attention to the posture – a light stride as if after a blow, the warrior was still trying to maintain balance, and bent knees as if with the last of his strength flexed his muscles to stop the fall. There is a surprise on the face with half-open lips. It is hard to resist the impression that his gaze is extinguished and his eyes are just covered in fog. The sculptor could not express it by modelling his eyes, so he achieved this effect by showing a face with a concentrated, dead mimicry.

Failure is symbolized by the dagger lying at the foot of the wounded. Polished, reflective marble makes the sculpture look like it shines with sweat, while natural marble discolouration reminiscent of bloody traces additionally adds drama to the whole situation.

The fight is over. One can get the impression that we see a defeated man a moment before he falls to his knees, and then the dead man falls to the ground.

The sculpture can be seen at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

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