Unknown artist, Northern Italian
Apollo, ca. 1540
Bronze with silver and gilt
18.7 x 6.3 x 4.5 cm (7 3/8 x 2 1/2 x 1 13/16 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 73.079
The youthful grace and elegant topknot of this figure identify it as Apollo, one of the twelve gods of Mount Olympus according to Greek mythology. In this gilt-bronze statue, Apollo is cast as a male nude wearing only Roman-style silver boots decorated with lion masks. His lithe torso, muscular legs, and languid stance were common features of classical sculpture. The position of the figure’s empty hands suggests that he may have held a lyre, arrow, or bow, attributes that were often associated with images of Apollo. Classical literature and art were important resources for the resurgence of interest in humanistic values during the Renaissance. Finely crafted statuettes such as this reflected a wealthy patron’s learning, and were widely collected for study and display.