240 x 80 x 85 cm
early 20th century
This fragmentary marble statue depicts a male nude stooping forward. The identification of the markedly muscular figure has fascinated scholars since the 1400s when the statue was found. The man sits on a rock covered with the skin of a predator (perhaps a lion), many thus regard him as Heracles. Others think he is the archer Philoctetes, or, more probably, Aias, contemplating his death. The statue was acquired by the Vatican Museum in the early sixteenth century, and kept in the Belvedere, hence its name. It exerted an incredible influence on Renaissance art. Michelangelo regarded himself as a disciple of the Belvedere Torso.