Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A half-size carved marble torso of Mars (Greek Ares), the God of War, donning a paludamentum (a cloak or cape worn by military commanders and emperors) with voluminous folds of drapery cascading from his left shoulder and held in the crook of his left elbow - and a short billowing pterubes (a skirt made of fabric or leather strips and worn around the waist) with a cingulum militare (a decorative belt denoting the wearer's rank) of roundels falling just below his abdominals. Otherwise, he is bare-chested, thus allowing the sculptor's prowess for delineating musculature and anatomy to shine. Size: 11.625" H (29.5 cm); 17.875" H (45.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Mars (Greek Ares) was the god of war - son to Jupiter and Juno (Greek Zeus and Hera) and one of the Twelve Olympians. His sister Minerva (Greek Athena) was the goddess of war. Whereas Mars traditionally represents the fiery, violent aspects of combat, his sister Minerva/Athena usually represents intellectual military strategy.
In Ancient Rome, the paludamentum served as a cloak for generals and emperors. Reliefs on Trajan's column and sculptures of numerous cuirassed leaders include depictions of paludamentum. This special garment was traditionally dyed scarlet or purple or bleached white, and must have made quite an impression, especially given that it was traditionally worn when venturing out to or returning from war. The paludamentum symbolized legitimate authority as well as honor. Demonstrating this, Marc Antony ordered that Brutus be cremated while wearing his.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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