Eni main sponsor of  The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece at  Metropolitan Museum, on view in U.S. for  the first time. 

Eni is proud of being the main sponsor of the exhibition The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition marks the first time this  masterpiece will be shown in the United States.  The event is organized by the Italian Embassy in Washington, to celebrate the Year of Italian Culture in the United States, of which Eni is Corporate Ambassador.

Eni has put culture at the heart of its relationships with people and territories. Disseminating and supporting culture is one of Eni’s "modi operandi" in societies to which the company feels strongly connected. Eni offers its own projects, always bearing in mind a word – innovation – that underlies everything the company does. Taking on such an important role in the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S. is a way of expressing this. It is one of Eni’s identity values, which adds to the constant and fruitful interaction that has always characterised the relationship between Eni and the U.S.

Boxer at Rest – an ancient bronze sculpture (4th century B.C.), also known as the "Boxer of the Quirinal" and normally displayed in the Museo Nazionale Romano – was found in 1885 in the area of the Convent of Saint Sylvester on the Quirinal Hill, formerly the Baths of Constantine. This summer, the statue will be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum’s Mary and Michael Jaharis Gallery, where the public can admire it and learn about its history and artistic value.

Culture is a word with many meanings. It encompasses various dimensions of art including painting, sculpture, music, cinema, and theatre, but at the same time it also embraces the world of work and industry. Italy and the U.S. also opened a communication channel in this sense in the 20th century–with the U.S. bringing the passion for research and innovation typical of the country on the one hand, and on the other, Italy bringing forward expertise and culture. To facilitate knowledge of different artistic expressions is the main objective of Eni, which in this way wants to combine two worlds, technology and art, seemingly distant but connected by an extraordinary creative impulse.

 

Boxer at Rest, Greek, Hellenistic period, late 4th–2nd century B.C.
Bronze inlaid with copper, H. 128 cm.
Museo Nazionale Romano - Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, inv. 1055
Lent by the Republic of Italy, 2013
Image courtesy Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma - Museo Nazionale Romano - Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

The statue

The bronze statue, housed at the Museo Nazionale Romano, was brought to light together with that of the so-called Principe Ellenistico (Hellenistic Prince) in 1885 in Rome, on the southern slopes of the Quirinal, during excavation works for the building of the Teatro Drammatico Nazionale. In ancient times, the area had been home to the Baths of Constantine (315 a.D.), where the piece had most probably been situated as a decorative element.

The sculpture is an exceptional work in bronze from the Greek period and is of outstanding artistic value.
Hellenism, when it was created, was distinguished by an incredible mastery of artistic techniques and by a meticulous research for likeness.

The goal was to realistically capture states of mind, intents, the complexity of characters and sentiments and was opposed to the tendency of classical art, which had sacrificed expressing emotion to the quest for a harmonious ideal, for example by representing athletes in their full youth and without any symptom of fatigue.

The statue, which has been the object of many studies, has been situated in a period ranging from the end of the 4th century B.C. to the 2nd century B.C.

Techniques used

The sculpture was made with indirect lost wax cast and consists of different pieces which were separately fused and later soldered together (the main ones are the left leg, the genitals, arms, forearms, the middle toes).
Nails, beard, hair and body hair on the chest and pubis were cold-finished and added later, and sculpted with a burin.

The extreme attention to details is exemplified by the separate working of the middle toes of the feet.
The right foot and part of the hands of the Boxer are very worn, and were probably touched by visitors in the past. This has been the case in other statues of athletes in public venues too, which were often believed to have healing properties, and were thus widely venerated.

 

In addition, a seated boxer with a similar turn of the head, with a dove in flight next to him, is captured in a vitreous paste copy made in the 1 century A.D. And it is perhaps thanks to popular veneration that the statue, which was protected by layers of fine sand when the baths were destroyed, was integrally preserved.

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