The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere - also called the Pythian Apollo - is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity. It was rediscovered at Anzio in the late 15th century, during the Renaissance. From the mid-18th century, it was considered the greatest ancient sculpture by ardent neoclassicists and for centuries epitomized ideals of aesthetic perfection for Europeans and westernized parts of the world. The moment represented, with Apollo having shot a death-dealing arrow, may have been at the slaying of Python, the primordial serpent guarding Delphi, making the sculpture a "Pythian Apollo", or it may be the slaying of Tityos, who threatened Leto. The Apollo is thought to be a Roman copy of Hadrianic date (ca. 120-140) of a lost bronze original made between 350 and 325 BC by the Greek sculptor Leochares. Before its installation in the Cortile del Belvedere, the Apollo, which seems to have been discovered in 1489, perhaps at Grottaferrata where Giulio della Rovere was abbot in commendam, apparently received very little notice from artists though it was sketched twice during the last decade of the 15th century in the book of drawings by a pupil of Ghirlandaio, now at the Escorial. Though it has always been known to have belonged to della Rovere before he became pope, as Julius II, its placement has been confused until as recently as 1986: Cardinal della Rovere, who held the titulus of San Pietro in Vincoli, stayed away from Rome for the decade during Alexander VI's papacy, 1494-1503; in the interim, the Apollo stood in his garden at SS. Apostoli, Deborah Brown has shown, and not at his titular church, as had been assumed. Once it was installed in the Cortile, however, it immediately became renowned and a demand for copies of it arose. The Mantuan sculptor Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi, called "L'Antico", made a careful wax model of it, which he cast in bronze, finely finished and partly gilded, to figure in the Gonzaga collection, and in further copies in a handful of others. Albrecht Dürer reversed the Apollo's pose for his Adam in a 1504 engraving of Adam and Eve, suggesting that he saw it in Rome. When L'Antico and Dürer saw it, the Apollo was probably still in the personal collection of della Rovere, who, once he was pope as Julius II, transferred the prize in 1511 to the small sculpture court of the Belvedere, the palazzetto or summerhouse that was linked to the Vatican Palace by Bramante's large Cortile del Belvedere. It became the Apollo of the Cortile del Belvedere and the name has remained with it, though the sculpture has long been indoors, in the Museo Pio-Clementino at the Vatican Museums, Rome. The Apollo was sketched and copied by several major artists during the late Renaissance, including Michelangelo, Bandinelli, Durer, and Goltzius. In the 1530s it was engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi, whose printed image transmitted the famous pose throughout Europe. The Apollo was one of the artworks brought back to Paris by Napoleon after his 1796 Italian Campaign. From 1798 it formed part of the collection of the Louvre during the First Empire. After the fall of Napoleon (1815), the Apollo was repatriated to the Vatican where it has remained ever since. The neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova adopted the fluency of the Apollo Belvedere for his marble Perseus (Vatican Museums) in 1801. Casts of the Apollo Belvedere were abundant in European and American public places (especially schools) throughout the 19th century
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