Young man on horseback

Greek, Sicilian
Archaic Period
about 510 B.C.


H. 60 cm (23 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Greek Archaic Gallery (Gallery 113)


Europe, The Ancient World



Large scale terracotta figure of a nude youth riding a horse. The horse and youth are accompanied by a dog (65.464), which may have originally been attached to the same base, though its precise location in relation to the horse is uncertain. The presence of the dog identifies the figure as a hunter. A petasos (traveling hat) was found with the figures, but is too small for the rider’s head, so it may have been worn on his back, looped around the neck with a cord.

Condition: Missing left foot, part of horse’s tail, and part of bridle. Some reconstruction, including horse’s mane. Hands and horse’s mouth pierced for reins in another material, now missing. Traces of white on surface may be undercoat for painting. The figure was handmade and the surface has been roughly smoothed.

Unlike mainland Greece and the Aegean islands, the Greek colonies in Sicily did not have easy access to good sculpting marbles. Thus, they developed a tradition of large-scale terracotta sculpture instead. Though other horse and rider figures have been found as temple akroteria, this free standing hunter is unusual.


Said to come from Inessa (Aetna), Sicily [see note]. By 1963, Robert E. Hecht, Rome, and Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Basel; 1965, sold by Münzen und Medaillen to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 14, 1965)

NOTE: Along with MFA accession nos. 65.464, 65.470, and 65.2676-65.2678.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund