Height: 30.000 inches
GR 1880.8-7.1 (Sculpture 1755)
Room 22: Alexander the Great
Marble statue of the spinario
Roman, 1st century AD
Copy of a Hellenistic Greek original of the 3rd century BC
This figure type, known as the spinario or thorn-puller, is best known from a celebrated bronze version in the Museo del Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome. This marble statue is the best surviving copy and probably closest to the original.
The work is of the highest quality. The boy's pose is cleverly handled to create all-round interest; the flesh is subtly modelled and finished, and his look of concentration is compelling. It therefore comes as a surprise to find that the sculpture was either made or later adapted as a garden ornament. The holes in the rock on which the boy sits indicate that it served as a fountain, located probably in a pool of water.
Hellenistic sculptors were fond of producing charming genre subjects such as this. The thorn and rock indicate the countryside. The boy has a rustic face and the whole subject evokes a rural idyll of a kind familiar from Hellenistic poetry.
R.R.R.Smith, Hellenistic sculpture (London, Thames and Hudson, 1991)