Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: Apollo Belvedere


Apollo Original

 The Apollo Belvedere is a classical variation on the theme of Apollo Saettante—Apollo as an Archer.  The statue is believed to portray the moment just after the Greek god Apollo releases the arrow that kills the Python, a huge snake that had terrorized the people of Delphi.

       The marble statue is a 2nd century AD Roman copy of a 4th century BC Greek bronze probably by Leochares, the sculptor for Alexander the Great.  The statue which portrays Apollo in motion can be viewed from the front or side.  It was discovered in 1489 near Anzio in central Italy and brought to the Vatican in 1511 by Juliana della Rovere (Pope Julian II).  It was displayed outdoors in the Cortile del Belvedere until it was moved to the Vatican’s Pio-Clementine Museum.  

     Apollo’s right hand, left arm and other more personal parts of his anatomy are missing.  The arm and hard were restored but his personal parts were covered by a fig leaf.  Two different versions are pictured.

Apollo Restored

Tastes change over time and the Apollo Belvedere has been regarded by some as a symbol of male perfection. It was probably used as a model for Michelangelo’s David and the Durer’s Adam. In coming weeks we’ll check out appearances of our gorgeous Apollo throughout history.   Rita Bay

3 Responses

  1. I have a question for you, Rita, and I hope you don’t throw up a ‘talk to the hand’ at me at our next GCCRWA meeting, but it’s been rattling around in my head for years and years. And I want to know if it’s true! lol

    An art teacher once told me that artists during the time these were done were sticklers for proportion. She said the reason that personal ‘bits’ on male statuary seemed so small was because they were typically displayed on tall pedestals. When you looked UP to see the statues, depth perception rendered said bits ‘normal’ size.

    Have to admit a few of us students experimented with her theory. (Picture teenage girls lying about on the museum floors and you’d have it right.) It seemed to work exactly the way she described, but I’d like to know if was a lucky guess on her part or actual fact.

    Sorry if I embarrassed you, but I was curiouser and curiouser! LOL

    • Don’t embarass easy, if at all. Not an art expert after two courses BUT I believe your teacher is correct. The rules of perspective apply to painting and sculpture. The Apollo Belvedere can be viewed from two sides which is unusual. David’s hands are out of proportion, though. Don’t know about his other parts from an artist’s POV, from a nurse’s POV, he was rather small. DId you really lie on the floor in a museum? Rita Bay

      • Yes! lol We were young adventuresses, out to test the bounds of propriety, challenge theories and conquer worlds!

        Gyah, were we dumb! But we had fun at it!

        Wish I had some of that sheer joie de vivre back! Your posts come pretty close, woman, pretty close!


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