Pasquino Group

Florence, Italy

Pasquino Group

9.4

The Pasquino Group (also known as Menelaus Carrying the Body of Patroclus or Ajax Carrying the Body of Achilles) is a group of marble sculptures that copy a Hellenistic bronze original, dating to ca. 200–150 BCE. At least fifteen Roman marble copies of this sculpture are known. Many of these marble copies have complex artistic and social histories that illustrate the degree to which improvisatory "restorations" were made to fragments of ancient Roman sculpture during the 16th and 17th centuries, in which contemporary Italian sculptors made original and often arbitrary and destructive additions in an effort to replace lost fragments of the ancient sculptures.

One of the most famous versions of the composition, though so dismembered and battered that the relationship is scarcely recognizable at first glance, is the so-called Pasquin, one of the talking statues of Rome. It was set up on a pedestal in 1501 and remains unrestored. A version of the group, probably intended to represent other Homeric figures, is part of the Sperlonga sculptures found in 1957.

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