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Meet the MIA: Who is Doryphoros?

Posted on by sbernhardt

We sat down with Doryphoros in the Rotunda at MIA to learn more about the mind behind the marble.

What would surprise us to know about you?
I originally had a bit more pizazz. The Romans painted me with rosy-hued encaustic (waxy) pigments, pink lips, and most likely dark hair. I probably looked a lot like Caligula.

Bust of Caligula

Describe something interesting or unusual about your work here.
The museum likes to accentuate my uninhibited aura at parties. I love being the center of attention!

Opening Parties at the MIA

What was your first job?
I’m a marble copy of a bronze statue originally made by the celebrated Greek sculptor Polykleitus. I was an advertisement for his Canon, which set up an elaborate system of proportions depicting the ideal Greek man. All my body proportions are derived from the length of the tip of my little finger!


If you weren’t a Roman copy of an ancient Greek sculpture, what would you be?
Since I have set the aesthetic standard for the perfect male body in Western culture for over two thousand years, I could be a Jean-Paul Gaultier model or star in the next Schwarzenegger action flick (there will be one since he’s stepping down as the Governator!)

I'll be back

What’s your pet peeve?
As much as I enjoy all of the attention I get, sometimes I feel like I’m just one of the guys from Jersey Shore (all brawn, no brains). The ancient Greeks believed that it was necessary to have “a sound mind in a sound body.” A perfect man embodied both and was at the height of his physical and intellectual power—although I know my toes are irresistible!

Pretty piggies

Where would you love to visit?
I’d love a Doryphoros get-together with my bros from Naples, Florence, and the Vatican. Only a few have survived out of the many that were made. Then finally I could prove to them that I’m the most superbly carved of the bunch (time for an Ab-Off!).

Bros from Naples and the Vatican

Name one guilty pleasure.
I sneak a peek at the Tiber Muse every so often. Hubba Hubba!

Tiber Muse

If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?
I’d give what remains of my left arm to have some other essential body parts back—and I don’t mean my nose!

Yours Truly

Images via Laputan Logic, History for Kids, Reed College, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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