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Archeological Object

Achilles and Chiron

Achilles and Chiron

The large fresco in Fourth Style portrays the centaur Chiron who is busy tuning the lyre which the young Achilles holds in his left hand. As he does this he puts his arms around the shoulders of the young man in a gesture which is a mixture of affection and protection. Chiron, who is seated, is portrayed in the full flowering of his strength; his face is completely humanised, and the only evidence of his hybrid nature consists of his equine ears. The adolescent Achilles, whose figure is modelled on the type of the Farnese Hercules, is covered only by a short cloak, and looks trustingly towards his teacher. The two figures stand out in the foreground, while the background consists of elegant architecture, portrayed in the tiniest detail. The theme portrayed is that of mythological pedagogy, according to the iconography that we know belongs to a sculptural group which stood, on the basis of Pliny’s writings, in the Saepta Iulia. From a formal point of view, one immediately becomes aware of the artist’s intention to use a restricted number of colours, giving the composition the chromatic uniformity of sculpture, and to represent it as a sculptural piece by choosing as a setting the podium of a monument rather than the cave of Mount Pelion where the centaur lived. The same group appears as the arms on Achilles’ shield in the Pompeian fresco depicting the hero at Skyros.

Further information
Codici (Label is not translated)
  Ente_competente: Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici delle Province di Napoli e Caserta
  SGTI: Achille e Chirone
Localizzazione_geografico-amministrativa (Label is not translated)
  PVCS: Italia
  regione: CAMPANIA
  provincia: Napoli
  comune: Napoli
  LDCT: palazzo
  Name: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  Indirizzo: Piazza Museo, 19 - 80135
  LDCM: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  Location: new display yet to be decided
Altre_localizzazioni_geografico_amministrative_reperimento (Label is not translated)
  PRVS: Italia
  regione: CAMPANIA
  provincia: Napoli
  comune: Ercolano
Dati_patrimoniali (Label is not translated)
  Inventory number: 9109
  INVD: 1863 post
Dati_tecnici (Label is not translated)
  MISU: cm.
  Height: 125
  Width: 125
  Length: 127
Dati_analitici (Label is not translated)
  Inscriptions - text:

Condizione_giuridica_e_vincoli (Label is not translated)
  CDGG: proprietà Stato
Fonti_e_documenti_di_riferimento (Label is not translated)

Ruesch 1279; LIMC I, 1, 1981, p. 48, s. v. Achilleus, n. 51; LIMC I, 2, 1981, p. 63; Moormann 1988, n. 019, pp. 102-104; Collezioni Museo 1989, I, 1, n. 177, p. 148; De Caro 1994, p. 119; De Carolis 2000, pp. 70-71.