DescriptionThe statue represents a male figure, with a naked body outlined in ideal or heroic nudity. He only wears a cloak, gathered on his left shoulder and falling on his bent left arm; the right arm is upwards.
The baldric indicates that the man is a member of the military class. There is a dramatic difference between the face, sculptured in a very realistic way and depicting an old man, not particularly appealing, and the idealized body, powerful and strong, inspired by classical artistic models, such as the ones of the Greek artist Polykleitos (5th century BC). This statue is a self-celebration and an empowerment of the man represented and, consequently, it has a strong political and propagandistic meaning. Probably the man is a member of the family (gens in Latin) who built the large public building where the statue was found and where other members of the same family were celebrated as well.
Statues representing men belonging to the military class depicted in an ideal (or heroic) nudity are particularly widespread in Italy from the period after the rise of Sulla to the time of Augustus (beginning of the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century BC). These sculptures are influenced by an artistic current developed from the 2nd century BC, called Neo-Attic (or Atticizing), that copied and re-elaborated models from Archaic and Classical Greek art (6th-5th centuries BC), adapting them to Roman contexts.