Head of the Doryphoros

Ancient Rome, last quarter of the 1st century BC

Polykleitos was among the greatest Ancient Greek sculptors. His most celebrated work were the Doryphoros or Spear-Bearer and the Diadumenos, depicting a Youth Tying a Headband. They were made of bronze and have come down to us today only in copies made by Roman craftsmen. Besides statues, Polykleitos also produced a theoretical treatise, The Canon, that has not survived either, but the theses that he formulated in it became established in art as a standard for the determination of harmony and the principles of symmetry. The statue of the Doryphoros was a visual embodiment of Polykeitos’ canon of proportions. The work from the Hermitage’s collection of antiquities was carved from green basalt and is a copy of the head from Polykeitos’ complete depiction of an athlete. The last quarter of the 1st century BC, when the copy was made, belongs to the period when the Roman sculptural portrait was developing as an artform. Still, the Roman craftsman strove not to deviate too far from the celebrated canon, and stylistically this is close to other replicas of the Greek Spear-Bearer that was originally created in the 450s–440s BC.

Information about the original:


Head of the Doryphoros




height: 26,0 cm

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