Statue of Theseus or Mars



An over life size male, heroic statue, previously identified as Theseus, the celebrated Athenian hero. The statue was known from the 16th century as Mars and probably had his identity changed by Blundell's time. The club he holds in his right arm and the ornamented Attic helmet are common in Roman sculpture but mainly for Roman statues of Mars. Theseus would not have been represented in a Roman context but not even in a Greek one as the protector of Athens and he would not have a helmet. The soft and pretty features of the statue may indicate that this is Mars as a companion to Venus. The hero is portrayed naked with the right leg bent slightly and the left arm leaning on a support. The pose is similar to the Ares Borghese, although the body is much slimmer. The legs appear slightly bigger than the body. Recent examination suggested that the statue is made of three parts: the head, torso and both legs did not belong to the same statue and indicate that the restoration must have been taken place in the 16th century although it was unusual for restorers to use pieces from different statues. The statue is a testimony to the extraordinary skills of the 16th century restorers some of which worked for the Cardinal Ippolito d'Este. The oval shape of the head is a feature of the classicising style of Roman period as is the un-emotive expression and the flat planes of the brow.