Head of an athlete

Imperial Period
probably A.D. 50–75

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 134; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 110 (additional published references).


Height x length (of face): 37 x 18.5 cm (14 9/16 x 7 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble probably from the Greek island of Paros

Not On View


The Ancient World



This head of a youth represents an athlete: around his head he wears both a cord (perhaps to hold his hair) and a ribbon, presented by an admirer. He may have been a boxer, as his ears appear swollen.
Classicistic creation inspired by Greek sculpture of about 460 B.C. Head of an athlete. Has cavities for inserted eyes. Hair treated with fine lines, tied into small knot on top of forehead. His headband is doubled; a cord holds his hair in place, and above is a ribbon awarded for athletic prowess. His puffy ears mark him as a boxer. Missing: nose and inserted eyes. The eyes were originally inlaid in another material

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI720: Isotope ratios - delta13C +5.13 / delta18O -2.95, Attribution - Paros 1, Justification - White with gray shadow, fine to medium grained marble.


By 1903: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Rome.); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, March 24,1903

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900