The “Boy with Thorn” is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a naked boy sitting on a rock pulling a thorn from the bottom of his foot. The boy has been identified as a young shepherd, and this motif of the extraction of a thorn from the foot was invented in the Hellenistic period and originates from the interest in observing everyday life actions and representing real-life situations.
Many copies have been made of this motif in bronze and marble. In this sculpture, the head, body and rocky seat were cast together as one piece.
Marble Roman Copy from 150 AD at the Altes Museum
The statue had also been given the title “The faithful boy” based on an ancient story invented to give this masterpiece a more heroic tale. The faithful messenger was a shepherd boy, who first delivered his message to the Roman Senate and only after his duty was done, did he then stop to remove a painful thorn from his foot. The Roman Senate commemorated the event by commissioning the bronze statue.
Taking into account the Hellenistic marble variants that have been discovered, such as the “Thorn-Puller” at the British Museum, none of which match the qualities of the bronze, recent scholarship has credited this statue as a Roman bronze of the third century CE, with a head adapted from an archaic prototype.
“Thorn-Puller” – a Roman copy from the 1st century CE – British Museum
Other Ancient Greek masterpieces featured in “Joy of Museums” include:
- Mask of Agamemnon – 1550–1500 B.C.
- Statue of a Kouros – 580 BC
- Peplos Kore – 530 BC
- Artemision Bronze – 460BC
- The Parthenon Marbles – 440 BC
- Caryatids of Erechtheum – 420 BC
- Boy with Thorn – Original Greek ~ 3rd century BC
- Dying Gaul – Original Greek ~ 230 BC
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace – 200 BC
- Laocoön and His Sons – 200 BC (Greek Original)
- Title: Boy with Thorn
- Date: 3rd century BCE
- Material: Bronze
- Museums: Capitoline Museums
“Man is not the lord of beings. Man is the shepherd of beings.” Martin Heidegger
Photo Credit:1) By Yair Haklai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Anagoria (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 3) By Alexandre Perez Vigo (“Boy with Thorn” or “Spinario” (British Museum)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons