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Monday, November 26, 2012
The Unmistakable Heroic Warrior
The Dying Gaul is an ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic bronze sculpture which was commissioned some time between 230 BC and 220 BC by Attalus I of Pergamon to celebrate his victory over the Celtic Galatians in Anatolia. The identity of the sculptor of the original is unknown, but it has been suggested that Epigonus may have been its sculptor. Recent research indicates that Epigonus probably knew the early fifth-century BCE sculpture of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina, which included the Dying Warriors, and could have had it in mind when he created his own works. The bronze original was part of a victory monument made for the Sanctuary of Athena in Pergamon. Pliny the Elder wrote that Epigonus "surpassed others with his Trumpeter".
The statue depicts remarkable realism as this dying Gual struggles to support himself with his right arm. His face shows the depth of his pain as blood flows from the cut on his right chest. He only wears a torque around his neck showing the "realness" of the nudity. The Greeks admired those who fought in battle withough armor or clothing, this The Dying Gaul portrays a strong and brave figure. "The Dying Gaul became one of the most celebrated works to have survived from antiquity and was engraved and endlessly copied by artists, for whom it was a classic model for description of strong emotion, and by sculptors" (Kelticos).