Kouros of Piombino

Archaic Greek

replica: from the Louvre, Paris

date of the original: c. 500 BC (or probably a Roman copy of the 1st century BC) 

provenance of the original: discovered in 1832 in the sea at Piombino, Italy; now in the Louvre, Paris

description: Standing youth with left foot forward, right hand extending forward from elbow, left arm at side. Plaster replica; bronze, copper and silver original. On base: height 114 cm, width 44.5 cm, depth 40 cm.

This kouros was recovered from the sea as were a number of other bronzes. Many ancient bronzes were melted down after the fall of the Roman Empire; this one survived such a fate (see also: Charioteer of Delphi). It was found near the Tuscan port of Piombino, whence its name.

His stance is Archaic with his left foot forward, the weight equally distributed on both feet, etc. The rest, however, seems to be predominantly Transitional or Pre-Classical. The hairdo is quite developed, while the facial features almost have the suavity and smoothness of the Classical. He may represent the god Apollo.

A dedicatory text to Athena in Doric Greek on one of the feet, not reproduced in this copy, links the work with Magna Graecia (in southern Italy). There is also literary evidence of Roman lovers of the Archaic style. It is very possible that this kouros is one of many 1st century BC copies, suitably altered to fit the more sophisticated taste of the Roman upper classes.

(See also: Kouros of Paros.)