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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Archive : Roman Marble Sculpture of Two Children Wrestling
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Roman Marble Sculpture of Two Children Wrestling - X.0101
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 1 st Century AD
Dimensions: 15.5" (39.4cm) high
Collection: Classical
Medium: Marble

Additional Information: sold

Location: Great Britain
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This Roman marble sculpture of two children wrestling is based upon a late Hellenistic prototype. Like a snapshot of two grapplers in the midst of battle, this sculpture captures a moment in the struggle between these two infants. One of the two children has seized advantage. He climbs on his opponent’s back, wrapping his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist, and proceeds to bite the other’s ear. The poor child who is on the losing side, perhaps just for the moment, wears an expression of pain on his face while trying to disengage himself from his challenger with his right hand. Perhaps in a moment he will toss his competitor to the ground and regain control. Other Hellenistic examples of scuffling children reveal that biting was a popular motif for such compositions. A hole has been drilled through the work, either in antiquity or later on, revealing that this sculpture once functioned as a fountainhead.

This fanstastic sculpture, filled with movement and emotion, originally belonged to the esteemed Viennese sculptor Viktor Oskar Tilgner (1844-1896). Later on, it was acquired by the painter and sculptor Franz von Matsch (1861- 1942) sometime between Tilgner’s death in 1896 and 1908. Von Matsch once worked with Gustav Klimt and collaborated in the interior decoration of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. He also served as a professor at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule and published a book on the university’s Greek vase collection.

This piece was published in Published inHans Tietze, Die Denmkale der Stadt Wien: XI-XXI. Bezirk, Mit archaologischen Beitr: Von Heinrich Sitte, (Osterreichische Kunsttopographie, vol. 2), Vienna, 1908, pp. 421-422, figs. 539-540. - (X.0101)


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