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Sculptured Arts Studio

Borghese Gladiator

Borghese Gladiator

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The Borghese Gladiator Statuette.

After the antique, Vincenzo Gemito, Italy 1880.

The original antique marble was found in the early 1600`s, at Nettuna, south of Rome, among the ruins of a seaside palace belonging to Emperor Nero on the site of the ancient Antium. From the attitude of the figure it is clear that the statue represents not a gladiator, but a warrior contend­ing with a mounted combatant. 

In the days when antique sculptures gained immediacy by being identified with specific figures from history or literature, conjec­tured that it was intended to represent Achilles, fighting with the mounted Amazon.

The sculpture was added to the Borghese collection, at the Villa Borghese, Italy, it stood in a ground-floor room named for it, redecorated in the early 1780s by Antonio Asprucci.

Camillo Borghese was pressured to sell it to his brother-in-law, Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807, which he took to Paris when the Borghese collection was acquired for the Louvre, where it now resides.

Misnamed a gladiator due to an erroneous restoration, it was among the most admired and copied works of antiquity in the eighteenth century, providing sculptors a canon of proportions. A bronze cast was made for Charles 1 of England, now at Windsor Castle, and Another by Hubert Le Sueur, was the centrepiece of Isaac de caus parterre, at Wilton House, that version was then given by the 8th Earl of Pembroke to Sir Robert Walpole and remains the focal figure in William Kent`s Hall at Houghton Hall, Norfolk. 

Originally a copy was also located in Lord Burlington's garden at Chiswick House and later relocated to the gardens at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Other copies can be found at Petworth house and in the Green Court at Knole.

Size. 50 cm tall, 52 cm wide, 20 cm deep.

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