Moonday: A Horse & His Jockey

This Moonday, check out the sculpture that was discovered with last week’s Hunk in an ancient shipwreck.  Not a Hunk, for sure, but certainly a delightful sculpture worth sharing.  In 1928, and again in 1937, parts of a large-scale bronze horse and a nearly complete jockey were recovered from the sea off Cape Artemision in Greece, where they had gone down in a shipwreck. The original Hellenistic sculptures, known together as the “Horse and Jockey Group from Artemision,” are among the very few surviving bronze sculptures from antiquity. 



After undergoing extensive restoration, the group, which dates to the second century BC, was housed in the National Museum in Athens.  The race horse wearing the brand of a thoroughbred (Nike holding a wreath in raised hands) is missing a part of his belly and tail but has been restored.  The young jockey was almost intact, including the black coloration of the face.  That coloration, combined with the features of the jockey, led to the assumption that he is of African origin.  Amazing that the likeness of a child survived for over two thousand years.

The sculptor is unknown as well as the name of the individual who commissioned the piece.  Experts propose that the life-size sculpture could have been an offering for a victory.  They also propose that the sculpture which remained with the wreck for over a thousand years was one of the many works of art taken from Greece after it was conquered by the Romans.  Its’ loss to antiquity was a gain for the present day.  Next week, another bronze hunk.        Rita Bay


One Response

  1. As always, I’m amazed. Have ever had a deep admiration for artisans of metal and stone — I may only be capable of stick figures but enjoy the talent of others.

    The detail of the child jockey is fantastic, his clothing ruffled by his and his mount’s generated wind of their leap. (Fascinating that branding was used as an identifier by so many different cultures. I’d love to see a close up of this brand.)

    Thanks, Rita. You always offer us an uplifting start to carry us through the week!

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