Celebrated Roman Sculpture Temporarily on Display at the Met

By Victoria Bekiempis on June 10, 2013 8:48am 

 "The Boxer" will be on display at the Met until July 15, 2013 as part of a special loan.
"The Boxer" will be on display at the Met until July 15, 2013 as part of a special loan.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

UPPER EAST SIDE — His nose is bloody and broken.

His lips, scarred and sunken, hide a mouth missing teeth for years.

And his eyes and ears, long the recipients of blows, have filled with fluid following yet another fight.

"Boxer at Rest," a Roman sculpture now on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is lauded for portraying a weary pugilist in great detail, according to institute officials.

And this approximately fourth century B.C. bronze sculpture — on view until July 15 — has never before been displayed outside Europe, museum officials said.

The special loan, facilitated by the Italian government, gives the Met an opportunity to show an artwork with great historical significance, officials said.

Because of its grandiose, larger-than-life style, scholars think the sculpture "may have been meant to celebrate a mythical — or real — boxer, who was glorified for his endurance and courage," Met officials said in a statement.

"The sculpture was buried intentionally in late antiquity, possibly to preserve it against the barbarian invasions that ravaged Rome in the fifth century A.D.," they said.

Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Met, touted the skill required to craft such an artwork.

“More than 2,000 years have passed since this virtuoso work of art was created, yet the powerful realism of its subject continues to captivate viewers today," he said in a statement.

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