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Home>Exhibitions & Events>Exhibitions>The Croatian Apoxyomenos—A Bronze Athlete

The Festival of Croatia in France is organized and implemented:

For Croatia:
by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, the Ministry of Tourism, the Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian National Tourist Office, the Croatian Embassy in France.
Organized by: Ms. Seadeta Midzic.

For France:
by the Institut français with the support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the Ministry of Sports and the French Embassy in Croatia.
Organized by: Ms. Isabelle Delage.

The “Croatian Apoxyomenos” will be presented at the Musée du Louvre as part of “Croatie, la voici”, the Festival of Croatia in France.

In 1996, a recreational diver came across a large bronze statue lying at a depth of 45 meters off the Croatian island of Lošinj, in the Adriatic Sea. In an exceptional state of preservation, this 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.

This major discovery gives us the opportunity to admire one of the rare great ancient bronzes still in existence. By the 6th century BC, the Greeks had learned to master bronze - an alloy of copper and tin - casting techniques that they favored for their statuary. Most of their works, lauded by the ancient authors, did not survive the Antiquity, since the bronze of the statues was later melted to make dishes, weapons, tools and coins. The Croatian statue thus provides us with rare and precious insight into this little-known art.

Standing 192 cm high, with red copper-inlaid lips and nipples, the statue represents an “apoxyomenos”, which is an athlete removing the oil and sand from his body with a small metal scraper called a strigil. Ancient athletes competed nude and outside; they covered their bodies in oil, which mixed with the sand of the palestra during their competition. The moment the artist chose to portray occurs after the athlete’s bout: his downcast gaze shows he was performing a specific gesture. This highly subtle composition brings the viewer into the intimacy of a gymnasium scene and helps us to understand just how observant the ancient sculptors were of male nudes.


Organized by:

Jean-Luc Martinez and Sophie Descamps-Lequime, Musée du Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities.

Iskra Karnis Vidović, Croatian Conservation Institute.

Practical information

From November 23, 2012 to February 25, 2013

Denon wing, ground floor, room 5

Opening hours
Open every day (except Tuesday) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Night opening until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Included in the museum ticket: €11

Further information
+33 (0)1 40 20 53 17