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By Battiglia, Eugenio (Italian, fl. late 19th - early 20th Century)
This exceptional marble sculpture, depicting two classicised men wrestling, is a copy after a famous Roman version of the same subject, which itself is a copy after a now lost Greek original.
This superb marble sculpture is after an antique Roman version of the same subject, itself a copy of a now lost Greek original in bronze, which was produced during the third century BCE. The Roman version of this sculpture, which is known as ‘The Wrestlers’, the ‘Uffizi Wrestlers’, or the ‘Pancrastinae’, is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The sculpture depicts two young men engaged in a sport called Pankration, a form of wrestling much like today’s mixed martial arts. The muscular structure of the two wrestlers is defined and exaggerated due to their sustained physical effort, with the form and style of the piece being evocative of Greek Hellenistic art.
The subject has been treated by many renowned artists, including Michelangelo, and Philippe Magnier produced a marble copy in the 1680s for the gardens of Versailles. It was later moved to Marly and is now housed within the Louvre.
The present version is by the Italian sculptor Eugenio Battiglia. The sculpture is signed ‘Prof. E. Battiglia / Florence’ to the base and was most probably copied from the original Uffizi version.
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