The Discus Thrower of Myron

Myron’s Discobolus was already known of, and made famous by, its description in the accounts of ancient authors. Quintilian mentions it in his Institutio Oratoria in the late 1st century AD. Lucian, writing in the 2nd century AD, also described the famous bronze statue “who is bent over into the throwing position, is turned toward the hand that holds the discus, and has the opposite knee gently flexed, like one who will straighten up again after the throw” (Philopseudes 18).

The ancient bronze statue was much admired by the Romans, who praised it for its dynamic composition and captured sense of movement. The original antique bronze sculpture has never been found; only Roman marble copies remain.

Discovery of the Discobolus Palombara

The most famous Roman replica discovered was found on 14th March 1781 at the Villa Palombara on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, which belonged at the time to the Massimo family. Restored by Angelini, the marble statue was then placed in a room in Palazzo Massimo.
The statue was recognised as the Discobolus and published by Fea and the elder Visconti. Despite being known as a copy rather than the original, it quickly shot to fame and was popularly admired for its classical beauty.
By the end of the 19th century it was moved to the palace in Via dei Coronari. It was since purchased by Adolf Hitler in 1938 and displayed in the Glyptothek in Munich, before being returned to Italy in 1948. In 1953 it was placed in the Museo Nazionale where it is still held today.

The Discobolus from Castel Porziano, unfortunately lacking the head, was found in 1906 among the remains of an Imperial villa in the estate of Castel Porziano.

It constitutes a more naturalistic and evolved version in comparison with the Lancelloti copy, which perhaps was executed in the age of Hadrian, as suggested by the support in the shape of a palm trunk and by the shape of the plinth.