Over-lifesize marble head of Apollo type Citharoedus

Roman period, 1st century A.D.
H. 30 cm (11 13⁄16 in)

Collection Roger Peyrefitte (1907-2000), Paris, prior to 1977
Collection Roger Peyrefitte : sculptures en marbre antiques et d'après l'antique : antiquités égptiennes : dont la vente aux enchères publiques aura lieu, Paris, Hôtel George-V, 26 mai 1977 par le ministère de Ader Picard Tajan, commissaires-priseurs associés, no 10
Private collection, Switzerland, acquired from the above

Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland from 1999-2010

The youthful god with his head turned slightly to his left, his face with a low forehead and full cheeks, his almond-shaped eyes with contoured lids recessed below softly-arching brows, the pupils unarticulated, his  wavy hair pulled back and crowned with a deeply drilled wreath of laurel. Very fine work

In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo was one of the major gods as one of the 12 Dii Consentes within the pantheon. Apollo was among other the god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases and poetry. He is the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. He is considered the most beautiful god and is represented as the ideal of the kouros (ephebe, or a beardless, athletic youth).

As the god of mousike (art of the muse), Apollo presides over all music, dance and poetry. He is the inventor of string-music and the frequent companion of the Muses, functioning as their chorus leader in celebrations. The lyre is a common attribute of Apollo. Protection of the young is one of the best attested facets of his panhellenic cult persona. As a kourotrophos, Apollo is concerned with the health and education of children, and he presided over their passage into adulthood. Long hair, which was the prerogative of boys, was cut at the coming of age (ephebeia) and dedicated to Apollo. The god himself is depicted with long, uncut hair to symbolise his eternal youth.

Our head represents a type preserved in numerous Roman copies. It shows Apollo as an over-lifesize standing draped figure holding a cithara. Among the finest examples is the colossal marble statue of Apollo Citharoedus of the Vatican Museums (2nd-century). The type is dated in the mid-4th Century B.C.

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