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[[File:Discobulus.jpg|thumb|The Townley ''Discobolus'' at the [[British Museum]], with incorrectly restored head.]]
The '''''Discobolus''''' of [[Myron]] ("[[discus thrower]]" [[Greek language|Greek]] Δισκοβόλος, "Diskobolos") is a famous Greek [[sculpture]] that was completed towards the end of the [[Severe style|Severe period]], circa 460-450 BC. The original Greek bronze is lost. It is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, such as the first to be recovered, the ''Palombara Discopolus'', or smaller scaled versions in bronze. A [[discus throw]]er is depicted about to release his throw: "by sheer intelligence", Sir Kenneth Clark observed in ''[[The Nude]]'' (1956:p 239f) "Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible, and he has given it the completeness of a [[cameo appearance|cameo]]." The moment thus captured in the statue is an example of ''rhythmos'', harmony and balance. Myron is often credited with being the first sculptor to master this style. Naturally, as always in Greek athletics, the ''Discobolus'' is completely [[Nudity in sport|nude]]. His pose is said to be unnatural to a human, and today considered a rather inefficient way to throw the discus. Also there is very little emotion shown in the discus thrower's face, and "to a modern eye, it may seem that Myron's desire for perfection has made him suppress too rigorously the sense of strain in the individual muscles," Clark observes. The other trademark of Myron embodied in this sculpture is how well the body is proportioned, the ''symmetria''.
The potential energy expressed in this sculpture's tightly-wound pose, expressing the moment of stasis just before the release, is an example of the advancement of Classical sculpture from Archaic. The torso shows no muscular strain, however, even though the limbs are outflung.
== Reputation in Antiquity ==
Myron's ''Discobolus'' was long known from descriptions, such as the dialogue in [[Lucian of Samosata]]'s work ''Philopseudes'':
:''"When you came into the hall," he said, "didn't you notice a totally gorgeous statue up there, by Demetrios the portraitist?" "Surely you don't mean the discus-thrower," said I, "the one bent over into the throwing-position, with his head turned back to the hand that holds the discus, and the opposite knee slightly flexed, like one who will spring up again after the throw?"''
:''"Not that one," he said, "that's one of Myron's works, that Diskobolos you speak of..."'' ([[Lucian of Samosata]], ''Philopseudes'' c. 18)
[[File:Discobolus red figure Louvre G292 full.jpg|thumb|left|The ''discobolus'' motif on an [[Attica|Attic]] red-figured cup, ca. 490 BC, is static by comparison.]]
==''Discobolus'' and ''Discophorus''==
Prior to this statue's discovery the term ''Discobolus'' had been applied in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to a standing figure holding a discus, a ''[[Discophoros]]'', which [[Ennio Quirino Visconti]] identified as the ''Discobolus'' of [[Naukydes of Argos]], mentioned by [[Pliny's Natural History|Pliny]] (Haskell and Penny 1981:200).
== ''Discobolus Palombara'' ==
The ''Discobolus Palombara'', the first copy of this famous sculpture to have been discovered, was found in 1781. It is a first century AD copy of Myron's original bronze. Following its discovery at a Roman property of the Massimo family, the Villa Palombara on the [[Esquiline Hill]], it was initially restored by Giuseppe Angelini; the Massimi installed it initially in their [[Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne]] and then at Palazzo Lancelotti. The Italian archaeologist [[Carlo Fea]] identified the sculpture as a copy from the original of Myron. It was instantly famous, though the Massimo jealously guarded access to it (Haskell and Penny 1981:200).
In 1937 [[Adolf Hitler]] negotiated to buy it, and eventually succeeded in 1938, when [[Galeazzo Ciano]], Minister of Foreign Affairs, sold it to him for five million lire, over the protests of [[Giuseppe Bottai]], Minister of Education, and the scholarly community. It was shipped by rail to Munich and displayed in the [[Glyptothek]]; it was returned in 1948. It is now in the [[National Museum of Rome]], displayed at the [[Baths of Diocletian]].
== ''Townley Discobolus'' ==
After the discovery of the ''Discobolus Palombara'' a second notable ''Discobolus'' was excavated, at [[Hadrian's Villa]] in 1790, and was purchased by the English antiquary and art dealer established in Rome, [[Thomas Jenkins (antiquary)|Thomas Jenkins]], at [[public auction]] in 1792. (Another example, also found at Tivoli at this date, was acquired by the [[Vatican Museums]].) The English connoisseur [[Charles Towneley|Charles Townley]] paid Jenkins £400 for the statue, which arrived at the semi-public gallery Townley commissioned in Park Street, London, in 1794. The head was wrongly restored, as [[Richard Payne Knight]] soon pointed out, but Townley was convinced his was the original and better copy.
It was bought for the [[British Museum]], with the rest of Townley's marbles, in July 1805 (''illustration, left'').
== Other copies ==
[[File:Greek statue discus thrower 2 century aC.jpg|thumb|Roman bronze reduction of Myron's ''Discobolus'', 2nd century AD ([[Glyptothek]], Munich).]]
Other Roman copies in [[marble]] have been recovered, and torsoes that were already known in the seventeenth century but that had been wrongly restored and completed, have since been identified as further repetitions after Myron's model. For one such example, in the early eighteenth century [[Pierre-Étienne Monnot]] restored a torso that is now recognized as an example of Myron's ''Discobolus'' as a ''Wounded Gladiator'' who supports himself on his arm as he sinks to the ground; the completed sculpture was donated before 1734 by [[Pope Clement XII]] to the [[Capitoline Museums]], where it remains.
Yet another copy was discovered in 1906 in the ruins of a [[Roman villa]] at Tor Paterno in the former royal estate of Castel Porziano, now also conserved in the [[Museo Nazionale Romano]].
In the 19th century plaster copies of the Discobolos could be found in most of the large academic collections, now mostly dispersed; one can be seen in the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Another is at Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, Connecticut.
[[:Image:Discus Thrower Copenhagen.jpg|A bronze cast]] stands in the Botanical Gardens of [[Copenhagen]].
The ''Discobolus'' was depicted on the [[Obverse and reverse|reverse]] of the Greek 1000 [[Greek drachma|drachmas]] banknote of 1987-2001.
== External links ==
* [http://www.skulpturhalle.ch/sammlung/highlights/2004/08/diskobol.html Skulpturhalle, Basel] (German)
* [http://www.greek-art.com/product_info.php/Diskuswerfer_-_Discobolos/products_id/173 Alabaster Figure] (English|German)