Ares-Mars statue

Barbara and Michael Wilsey, California Chapter

The origin of this sculpture is unknown. At the end of the 1700’s it was part of Gavin Hamilton’s collection, painter and antique dealer; then, it was part of Marconi’s collection from Frascati and around the 19th century, it became part of the pontificate collections to be set up in the Lateran Museums. Lastly, in 1963, it was moved into the Vatican, along with other relicts, and a few years later moved to the Gregorian Profane Museum. _MG_8776The body is that of a young man in heroic nudity, dressed only with a cape that is fixed by a clasp on the right shoulder, and that covers part of its back. The typology of this artifact, known by other replicas of the imperial age, gets its inspiration from Greek sculpture models of the 5th century BC. Yet, it seems to be adopted during the 2nd century AD, for honorary military iconographic statues that would primarily depict emperors such as Antonino Pio, Marco Aurelio, and Lucio Vero. The military character of the iconographic typology is revealed by the presence of an armor shaped like a tree trunk, which lies on the sustainment next to the right leg. Moreover, the head, which also shows modern restoration interventions, can be compared to other replicas of the imperial ages. The origin is hypothetically from a bronze statue that depicts the god of war, Ares, and that was created in Attica, between 430 and 420 BC.