Kouros

Arte greca

Early Fifth century BC

Solid-cast bronze, 18.5 x 6cm

Inv. 12014/12P

The Galleria Estense, Modena

This is a statue of a nude young man standing frontally and resting on his right leg whilst slightly raising his left. The figure’s pose with the arms bent at the elbow holding out two fists, the facial lineaments, sophisticated hair arrangement, detailed rendering of anatomy and balanced proportions puts it in the final stages of the archaic period of Greek art.  

Numerous publications from survey books on Greek art to articles dedicated to archaic period small-scale sculpture have highlighted the high quality of the Estense sculpture. It has been compared to bronze statues such as the Herakles of Perachora (H. Payne) produced in Corinth at the end of the sixth century BC and is believed to be the archetype of similar examples held at the State Hermitage Museum and the Museo Civico di Rimini (E. Paribeni). 

The kouros has been associated with Sicilian and Magna Graetia territories, a convincing argument since starting from the second half of the sixth and the start of the fifth century BC, works produced there were characterised by a strong sense of plasticity. 

The provenance of this bronze goes back to the collection of antiquities gathered by the Obizzi Marquises at the Castello del Catajo near Padua. It was inherited by the Este Dukes in 1805 and entered the national collections at the Galleria Estense di Modena after the Unification of Italy.