A Greek image of beauty

The young man who is represented by this (unfortunately time-worn) bronze statuette is characterised by a particular kind of masculine beauty rather than by virile strength. His body and musculature are perfectly proportioned without being overly developed. His pose expresses a form of nonchalance and suppleness typical of the god. But what chiefly characterises him as an image of beauty is the long hair that falls in long curls over his shoulders (difficult to distinguish on this statuette). This was a conventional representation of Apollo, probably dating back to Archaic Greece (7th-6th century BC), and transmitted to Roman artists.
Apollo is also portrayed here with one of his typical attributes: the quiver. He was also a vengeful god, and this is symbolised by the bow and arrows (with which he killed Niobe’s children). The statuette no doubt once held a bow in its left hand, but it has not survived. This image thus represented both the god’s beauty and his vengeful and cruel character.