Sunday, November 29, 2009

Il Fidelino

The Boy with a thorn in his foot (Il Fidele or Il Fidelino) was a well known subject in Greek and Roman sculpture. The first known version was a Greek bronze created between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE which is now in the Musei Capitolini here in Rome. Various versions of it in bronze and marble were made from Roman times onwards and can be found in collections in Firenze, London, New York and this one at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin which dates from the time of Augustus.

He is part of the exhibition Die Rückkehr der Götter (The Return of the Gods) - a fascinating collection of classical pieces that had been taken from Berlin to Moscow and St Petersburg for "safe keeping" in 1958. The collection of Roman and Greek art was returned and has been restored and some pieces are being displayed for the first time in a decades.

The name Il Fidelino (The Faithful Boy)comes from the apocryphal story created to give what was a simple Grecian theme a more grandiose civic purpose in Rome. Legend says he was a shepherd boy who ignored the pain of a thorn lodged in his sole to deliver a message to the Senate. It was only after his task had been accomplished that he applied himself to removing the hurtful barb.
Some how this does not look like the face of a boy who has run miles to bring a message but simply a young lad, perhaps a Shepard, concentrating on removing that bothersome thorn.


Though those beautifully sculpted hands and feet don't look like those of a young man who has tromped through fields or climbed rocks in search of his sheep.

What ever his purpose in life he was a fitting subject for the unknown sculptor's hammer and chisel.

29 novembre - San Saturnino di Tolosa
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2 comments:

Sling said...

I really like this sculpture Will.
No lofty messages here,just a simple moment in time.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

who knew plucking a thorn from your foot could be so beautiful..?