A first century B.C bronze Apoxyomenos sculpture, discovered at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea off the Croatian island of Lošinj by a diver in 1996, is currently being exhibited at the British Museum…
The 192cm Croatian Apoxyomenos, or Statue of an Athlete, is part of the ‘Defining Beauty’ exhibition dedicated to the body in ancient Greek art, which will be held from 26 March to 5 July. An all day presentation on 10 April entitled ‘Study day: The Athlete of Croatia: a bronze youth from the sea’ will be dedicated to the unique Apoxyomenos.
In 1996, a recreational diver came across the large bronze statue which is thought to be a Hellenistic or Roman replica after a bronze original from the second quarter or the end of the 4th century BC, was recovered in April 1999 by Croatian archeologists and restored. The statue, with red copper-inlaid lips and nipples, represents an “apoxyomenos”, which is an athlete removing the oil and sand from his body. Ancient athletes competed nude and outside; they covered their bodies in oil, which mixed with the sand of the palestra during their competition.
The statute has been previously exhibited at the Louvre in Paris and in Florence.