Head of an athlete or hero

Early Imperial Period
about 30 B.C.–A.D. 40, after a Greek prototype of mid–5th century B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 032; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 107 (additional published references).


Height: 28.2 cm (11 1/8 in.); length of face: 17 cm (6 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Head of an athlete or hero. The head is a variation on the most famous work by the Greek sculptor Polykleitos, his Doryphoros, or spear-bearer. The head is unfinished, lacking the depth and detail of a finished work.The surfaces have suffered considerably from weathering in antiquity and perhaps at a later period. The vertical groove in the nose was for the dowel from an ancient repair. A large crack or flaw in the marble runs around the front of the head, through the left side of the face.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI759: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.10 / delta18O -2.18, Attribution - None, Justification - Fine to medium grained marble.


1924, sold by Edward Zoumpoulakis (dealer), Athens, to Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P1413); September 13, 1928, sold by Brummer Gallery to Vladimir Simkhovitch (b. 1874 – d. 1959), New York; 1951, sold by Vladimir Simkhovitch to the MFA for $7000. (Accession Date: June 14, 1951)

Credit Line

Frederick Brown Fund