A tabletop bronze of a boy pulling a thorn from his foot, made around 1500 by the Renaissance sculptor known as Antico. It’s one of those heartbreaking sights you come across by accident on any visit to any corner of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Of course, it’s not all Antico’s idea. He based it on a much larger Roman statue that had survived to his day. But what I particularly like about Antico’s version is the way it takes the cherished body type and patina of a Roman bronze and adds the blond hair prized in Antico’s day, thereby transforming an ancient masterpiece descended from an essentially foreign culture into a contemporary, lovable treasure. What Antico may not have known is that the Romans also fancied blonds (and blondes), even if their surviving bronzes don’t show it.
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