Antiquities and Archaeology
Divinely beautiful Greek charioteer comes to London
The British Museum is trading its Strangford Apollo to borrow the fifth-century BC Auriga of Mozia from Sicily
By Anna Somers Cocks. Web only
Published online: 02 April 2012
He is called the charioteer and although damaged, with his turning, athletic body and robe so fine and clinging that every muscle is revealed, he is one of the most exquisite surviving Greek sculptures. And the British Museum has managed to borrow him for the duration of the Olympic Games.
From 1 May, the fifth-century BC Auriga (charioteer) of Mozia (where he was found) will be on display in the Duveen Gallery surrounded by the Parthenon Marbles, which are slightly younger by about 30 years. Normally, to see the charioteer you have to make a lengthy pilgrimage to a remote island off the west coast of Sicily, to the little museum set up in memory of the English marsala importer Giuseppe Whitaker, who personally funded decades of excavations there.
In a deal struck with the Sicilian government, the British Museum is sending the Strangford Apollo (see photo below), an almost equally beautiful naked youth, found in the Greek Cyclades Islands, to take the charioteer’s place while he comes north, until 30 September.
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