Strigil Bearer

Andrea Briosco, known as Riccio (Trent, Italy 1470–1532 Padua)
Strigil Bearer
Cast ca. 1515–20
Bronze
12 5/8 in. (32 cm)

Riccio was celebrated in Padua as an ancient sculptor reborn. This athlete bearing a curved strigil (skin scraper) and oil vial used for grooming the body is Riccio’s interpretation of a bronze statue (known solely through ancient texts) by the Greek sculptor Lysippus.

The Strigil Bearer’s torso is classically idealized, but his face possesses a mature introspective complexity that is Riccio’s novel contribution to the antique tradition. The recent cleaning of the statuette reveals minute, shallow hammer strokes that cause light to flicker over the bronze and animate the figure.