Milo of Croton

Giuseppe Piamontini (Florence 1664–1742 Florence)
Milo of Croton
Cast ca. 1725–30
Bronze
17 1/4 in. (43.6 cm)

The ancient Roman author Valerius Maximus tells of how Milo of Croton tested his strength against that of a riven oak only to be pinned within it and perish. Piamontini portrays Milo’s anguish as he struggles against the tree, his feet sliding beneath him, and discovers his power useless. Piamontini’s masterful rendering of a helplessly suspended heroic figure emphasizes the tale’s moral on the downfall of pride. His refined tooling of the metal’s surface sets the glowing polish of Milo’s flesh against the dark tree’s rough bark, creating textural frictions that evoke a sense of pain.