As Athens began its slow ascent to world-superpower status, men and women of the same race, thousands of miles away on the Iberian Peninsula, were forging their own civilization, with its own character, art, and lifestyle. This superb votive statue offers a peak into a rich world that was emerging parallel to the most famous Greek civilization. Like its Archaic Athenian counterparts- this statue has the attributes of a Koros; its spine is straight, the shoulders are raised with the arms against the body, the hands are open and outstretched in perpetual prayer. But while most Koros, it seems, are cut out of the same mould- the identity and presence of this statue is undeniably individual and unique. The precision and attention paid to the facial structure and expression first catch our eye. A rotund visage, with fat and healthy cheeks offers a benign and refreshing presence in the archaic universe of sharp cheek-bones and drawn, narrow faces. The body is given a wiry, tapered musculature by the chalyms secured around the short chiton. The hands too large to be perfect, too friendly to be canon, are the small detail that really gives a human presence to the piece. Whoever the creator of this sculpture was, he disregarded the Attic principles of stratifying, codifying, and reproducing ideal forms; and instead opted to portray, with charming and subtle imperfection, the very real presence of someone he knew and loved. The harsh tongue of an Athenian art critic would deem such a piece unsuitable for offering to a God. The face and hands are simply too real, too human, too imperfect- to ever satisfy a Holy and appraising eye. But even if the God’s cannot appreciate the humanity, the liveliness, the responsiveness, of this piece- we certainly can. And in the presence of this object, we find ourselves not only in the presence of something historically and technically beautiful- but in the presence of a soul, captured and immortalized in a bit of bronze, in a bit of art.
The carefully delineated musculature of this splendid votive bronze recalls the style of Attic Kouroi. Our attention is focused--as that of the gods to whom he was offered--on his large hands, outstretched in perpetual prayer. Who offered him and why we can never know. Even so, he remains an intriguing survivor of a vanished world.