Statuette of a Beggar

Statuette of a Beggar

100-50 BC

Bronze, solid cast, with silver and copper inlays

Overall: 18.4 x 5.3 x 7.2 cm (7 1/4 x 2 1/16 x 2 13/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1963.507



This bronze reflects an exotic, urban setting, such as Alexandria, one of the most cosmopolitan of all classical cities and rich in cultural. It was the home of a great library and famous philosophers. Greeks, Jews, Egyptians, Africans, and Romans lived, studied, and traded there. The little goatee and curly sideburns mark this figure as a mature man rather than the child he at first seems to be. The black patina was purposely induced in antiquity by exposing the bronze to sulphide fumes. The color of the patina was heightened by inlays in contrasting silver and copper for the eyes and lips. Deformities—in this case, scoliosis of the spine—fascinated some Greek artists.

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