Date: May 17, 2019
Category: Comparison Essay
Alexander the Great on Horseback & Seated Boxer

At the time of the Hellenistic era, which was the period from the death of Alexander the Great until the founding of the Roman Empire in 31 BC, the medium of bronze defined the artistic novelty in Greece and all over the Mediterranean. Sculptors shifted from the Classical norms, enhancing customary themes and idealized shapes with pragmatic representations of emotional and physical states. Bronze is superior to marble in its tensile vigor, reflective effects, and capacity to grip the most excellent detail. Thus, the material was used for vibrant compositions, incredible exhibits of the unclothed body, and explicit expressions of character and age. The statue of Seated Boxer was found on the Quirinal Hill of Rome in the year 1885 near the very old baths of Constantine and is presently displayed at the Getty in Los Angeles. Since its discovery, it has amazed and thrilled visitors as an attractive masterpiece of prehistoric bronze sculpture.

Cast from alloys of lead, copper, and tin components, bronze statues were formed in the thousands during the Hellenistic world. They were located in public places and outdoor sites, honorific pictures of citizens and rulers occupied city squares, and images of heroes, mortals, and gods decorated the sanctuaries. Nevertheless, only a few statues continue to exist today, and they are spread all over the world, traditionally exhibited as isolated masterpieces. The crucial number of large-scale bronzes is conserved in the modern world in order to be perceived and exist in context. New findings are presented together with works acknowledged for hundreds of years, and may closely connect the statues, which are displayed side by side for the initial time. Several of the images were shaped by Lysippos of Sikyon, among them is Alexander’s much-loved sculptor and one of the most renowned artists. Lysippos appeared to have worked only in bronze, getting accustomed to the ancient typical methods for heroes, gods, and athletes and changing them into dynamic portrayals of powerful kings.

The vicious realism of the Seated Boxer displays a muscular man, who has received several violent blows and is prepared to tackle them himself. The statue is aimed to provoke compassion in the viewer. At the Getty Museum, the boxer’s line of sight lands directly on the life-size bronze sculpture of a victorious youthful athlete spanning a pedestal also referred to as the Getty Bronze. Copper inlays line the cuts of the skin and symbolize dripping blood. The inflamed right cheekbone was cast in a special alloy consisting of less tin, copying the staining of a hematoma. At the same time, the face articulates mental and physical fatigue following a fight, but the boxer’s body is toned and robust, displaying fewer signs of age, and his hair, as well as the beard,  are carefully coiffed. Exhumed in the year 1885 on the south side of the Quirinal Hill in Rome, the sculpture was discovered cautiously placed in the foundations of a prehistoric building. Originally, the figure would perhaps have been put up in a Greek sanctuary or exhibited publicly in the hometown of the athlete to celebrate his memory.

The sculpture displays a boxer seated with his arms at rest on his knees, his head turned towards the right and a little bit raised with mouth open. The statue is nude apart from his boxing gloves that are of the very old Greek type consisting of leather strips fastened to a ring around the knuckles and fixed with woolen padding, and the infibulations of his penis by knotting up the foreskin that was both for defense and composition of modesty. The boxer is signified following a match. His muscular body and packed beard are those of a fully-grown athlete, and his broad neck, gangly legs, and long hands are well matched to the sport he plays. His face displays cuts and bruises, and his lips are drawn as though his teeth have been knocked out.

Get a price quote

Type of paper
Academic level
Spacing
Urgency
Number of pages
Currency
Order total:

His broken nose and cauliflower ears are the ordinary conditions of boxers, possibly the outcome of the earlier fights. However, the manner in which he is breathing through the mouth and the bloody cuts on his face and ears show precisely the harm meted out by his most immediate opponent. The muscles of his legs and hands are tense as though, regardless of the tiredness of competition, he is prepared to bounce back in order to face the next opponent. The swift turn of his head is highlighted by the drops of blood showed by inlaid copper, which seem to have just fallen from his face onto his right hand and thigh. The dark patina has been formed over a long period of time through oxidation and is now being perceived as it was there initially when the bronze was shined to the color of an athlete’s tanned and oiled shiny skin.

In addition, the color of the sculpture is inlaid the rosy lips and nipples with copper: copper inlays also cover the streams of blood that seem to run from his several wounds and the cuts on the ungloved knuckles that landed the punches. Beneath the inflamed eye, the sculptor inlaid a bronze alloy, darker in color as compared to the entire statue, to show a large bruise. The alloy is one of the most outstanding and poignant utilization of inlay in prehistoric art. Like most Hellenistic statues that are not set to an exact historical date, the Seated Boxer is hard to date on sophisticated grounds alone, provided that the statues use various styles in the Hellenistic period between 323-331 BC. Scholars have positioned the sculpture anywhere from the late 4th century BC, noting its artistic similarities to sculptures attributed to Lysippos as well as other compositional aspects of the 1st century BC, whereby it is matched up to the other dominant classical works like the Belvedere Torso situated in the Vatican Museum.

The eyes of the Seated Boxer were not intended to be blank and empty as they seem in the sculpture. Initially, the bronze inlaid the eyes utilizing the resources that enabled them to look innate. The Boxer is ruined and distorted, and his body is practical in facial and musculature effect. The artist utilized copper inlays to produce wounds on the head, several scars, and cuts on his forehead and face, a bruise under the right eye cast in a different alloy in order to provide it with a darker color. Therefore, the boxer has created bronze eyelashes that initially bordered the life-like eyes.

Alexander the Great on Horseback is identified by the noble diadem in his distinctive curly hair. The Macedonian king wears a short cloak, a cuirass, and fastened military sandals. He waves a sword in his right hand, and his left hand is clinched to the bridles of his rearing horse, most probably his favorite Bucephalus. Discovered in 1761 at Herculaneum in Italy, the sculpture is believed to be a small-scale representation of the showpiece of the colossal group by Lysippos. The currently-lost original was laid down in the sanctuary of Zeus at Dion, in northern Greece. It was laid to honor Alexander’s triumph over the Persians at the Granikos River in 334 BC.

The sculpture represents Alexander riding his horse Bucephalus striking a descending propel with his sword. The sculpture’s bust is demonstrated from three-quarter outlook facing to the right, and his right hand clinging to his sword. His left arm lowered to cling to the straps that are possibly made of bronze sheet. The sculpture is dressed in the classical clothing of the Macedonian cavalry comprising of a chiton, cuirass with a firm leather corset reinforced with metal plates on the outer side, a belt, a chlamys fixed by a bulge on his right shoulder, an empty sword casing put firmly by a baldric on his left side. The horse is showed in the act of rearing up on its front legs in a manner that the weight of the rider falls fully on the back quarters of the horse. On his back is an animal skin cut into similar shapes as of caparison, reinforced by restraint and a pectoral with two quadrangular saucers adorned by a helmeted bust with extensive hands.

There is existing support in the outline of a wheel on the belly of the horse, while the interleaves produced from a range of materials that would perhaps have ornamented the eyes of Alexander and the war-horse have been lost. The statue has been recognized as Alexander the Great ever from the time of its discovery, together with a sculpture of a bronze horse also kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which is perceived to be a replica of the ruler in the epic equestrian group created by Lysippus. The statue was created to commemorate the cavalrymen who were destroyed at the time of the battles of the Granicus River. The men are said to have been fighting under the authority of Alexander the Great.

In a comparison of the two objects, the Seated Boxer is dated back to the 300-200 BC, while that of Alexander the Great on Horseback is between 100-1 BC. The Seated Boxer has a height of 128 cm and a width of 64 cm, not including the base, while Alexander the Great on Horseback has a height of 49 and a width of 47 cm. On the other hand, the seated Boxer sculpture is made of bronze and copper whereas that of Alexander the Great on Horseback is made of bronze and silver. When observed in closeness to one another, the range of styles and methods in the earliest sculptures is stressed to the greater effect, as are the different histories as well as functions of the bronze statues. Bronze cast in molds was, therefore, a resource appropriate for imitation, and the display offers an extraordinary chance to view the Seated Boxer and Alexander the Great on Horseback from the same Museum at the same time.

 

In conclusion, the position of the Seated Boxer and that of Alexander the Great on Horseback is now being acknowledged as a work of art of the Hellenistic statue. It shows why the medium was so esteemed in the olden world. The valuable metal could possibly be cast to remarkable facets, in audacious poses, and polished to a tawny patina that looks like animal fur or a living skin. Under the accurate conditions like being dipped in water, the bronze statue can last for millennia, but it can never be melted down to create weapons, coins, or armor, and often wars. Among the several of the large-scale bronzes that the prehistoric world created, only a few continue to exist, together with immense numbers of miniatures, some representation of the great bronze works of art, some unique creations.