15
Dec
08

HOW ART MADE THE WORLD

rb-1

ONE OF ITALY’S MOST IMPORTANT FINDS OF THE LAST 100 YEARS.
The bronzes were discovered by Mariottini, an amateur scuba diver from Rome, during a holiday on the Calabrian coast.
They turned out to be one of Italy’s most important archaeological finds of the last 100 years.
The statues are of two virile men, presumably warriors or gods, who possibly held lances and shields at one time. At around two metres, they are larger than life.
The ‘older’ man, known as Riace B, wears a helmet, while the ‘younger’ Riace A has nothing covering his rippling hair.
Both are naked.
Although the statues are cast in bronze, they feature silver lashes and teeth, copper red lips and nipples, and eyes made of ivory, limestone and a glass and amber paste.
Italy is renowned for its archaeological treasures but the Riace bronzes have attracted particular attention.
This is partly because of their exceptionally realistic rendering and partly owing to the rarity of ancient bronze statues, which tended to be melted down and the metal reused.
Mariottini, who spotted the statues 300 metres off the coast and eight metres underwater, said the bronze was so realistic he initially thought he’d found the remains of a corpse.
When they first went on display in 1981, a million people came to see them and the pair were even featured on a commemorative postage stamp.
Today the statues pull some 130,000 visitors each year to the Reggio Calabria museum housing them.
How or when the statues sank to their watery resting place also remains a mystery, as divers uncovered no wreckage in the vicinity.
While remains could have drifted to the seabed some distance away it is more probable that the statues were tossed overboard, either to lighten the ship’s load in a storm or to prevent them falling into the hands of pirates.
Italian cultural authorities recently sent a fresh scientific mission to the area after a US ship reported detecting traces of underwater metal near the spot the statues were discovered.

rb-2

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1 Response to “HOW ART MADE THE WORLD”


  1. 1 Anonymous
    August 14, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    So ridiculously beautiful


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1984 Computer portrait from State Fair

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