Greek art in all its splendor

Jockey Artemision Greece statue
Jockey of Artemision – National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Credit: Joyofmuseums , CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wikipedia

The Jockey of Artemision, a large Greek bronze statue of a young boy riding a horse, is a magnificent surviving statue from ancient Greece and a rare example of a racehorse in Greek sculpture.

It was discovered in the fall of 1928 near Cape Artemision in northern Evia. Fragmentary bronze statues of a horse, boy, and god were recovered from a sunken ship, and after extensive study and restorations, the horse and boy were paired into one sculptural group.

The statue is unique in its beauty. Adeline Coe, an archaeologist from Furman University recently gave perhaps the best description of what she symbolized.

The pair are captured in a moment of great drama, Coe says, writing in a publication from Furman University.

“The horse has two legs raised far from the ground, giving the impression that it is galloping at full speed. His large eyes, flattened ears and exaggerated veins clearly show his tension. His large nostrils, half-open mouth and hanging tongue almost allow the viewer to see him gasp and foam as he advances to the end of the race.

Jockey Artemision Greece statue
The “Artemision jockey”. Credit: Joyofmuseums , CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wikipedia

“The boy is seated astride his horse, his body leaning close to the animal’s neck to counterbalance the horse’s bouncing gait. In one hand, he grasps a fragment of the pre-existing reins while the other hand is ready to hold a whip or a whip. The drape of her simple clothes and the locks of her hair float freely in the wind. His mouth is relaxed and open, showing his exhaustion to match that of the horse. Here, the bronze acts as a very expressive medium.

Expression of the classical ideals of Greece

“The metallic sheen of his skin and the horse’s skin give the appearance of sparkling sweat. This horse and his boy exhibit a paradigm often seen in Hellenistic sculpture: the combination of classical Greek ideals with additional expression, drama and energy, ”says the American scholar.

The statue is dated to around 150-140 BC. AD and is approximately full size, at 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) in length and 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) in height.

On display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Artemision’s jockey is a rare survivor. Most ancient bronzes were cast for their raw material sometime after their creation, but this one was saved from destruction when it was lost in a shipwreck in antiquity, before being discovered in the 20th century. .

Jockey Artemision Greece statue
Credit: Sharon mollerus , CC BY 2.0/ Wikipedia

Jockey of Artemision artist unknown

The original artist and the circumstances in which the work was created are unknown. However, archaeologist Seán Hemingway suggested that it could have been looted in Corinth in 146 BC.

Some parts of the Jockey of Artemision are missing, such as the rider’s whip and reins, and the horse’s bridle. The bronze of the hind legs is thicker, indicating that they were the main support of the statue.

The image of the goddess Nike is engraved on the horse’s right thigh, holding a crown in raised hands – a mark for racehorses in ancient Greece.

The horse eclipses its jockey, a boy of only 84 centimeters (2.76 feet) tall and possibly 10 years old, possibly from Africa due to his physiognomy and original black weathered surface color. . Her hairstyle, however, is Greek, suggesting a mixed heritage.

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