"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid" ~ Star Wars, 1977.
While in Florence, Heidi and I stumbled on what turned out to be one of the most interesting things we saw during our trip to Italy. Though we had already purchased tickets to see the Medici Chapel (highly recommended in every guide book I read), we found it to be somewhat a disappointment since most of the chapel (inside and out) was covered in scaffolding. This was also true of the inside of the Duomo, another disappointment. Note: I think this should be mentioned before one buys a ticket.
So while traversing the streets of Florence, Heidi and I wandered into the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, built in the mid 15th century and an excellent example of Renaissance civil architecture.
There is where we found Apoxyomenos, L’Atleta della Croazia. The ‘Athlete of Croatia’, a large bronze statue of a naked, male athlete, was found in July, 1997, by a Belgian skin-diver, Wouters Kidney, in the waters off the island of Losinj in Dalmatia, on the southern coastal region of the Republic of Croatia.
At first, the Croats were going to leave the statue semiburied in the sand, 45 meters below, where it had been for 2000 years. However, fearing theft, they recovered the statue two years later and transported it to the swimming pool of the Croatian Police Department.
Carbon 14 analysis of organic substances (plant material mostly) found inside the statue dates it to around 50-40 BC, when Caesar was dictator of Rome.
It is the best copy from the Roman period of a Greek statuary type. It is an athlete, possibly a boxer or a wrestler, around the age of 18-22 years old.
The statue is on loan from Croatia in recognition of Italy’s contribution to the four years it took to restore the statue by the Factory of Hard Stones and the Laboratories of Restoration of Florence.
Apoxyomenos, L’Atleta della Croazia is on exhibit at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi until January, 2007.
Yes, I did get in trouble for using flash photography.