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Print - Eroe Combattente

Eroe Combattente

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (possibly, made)
    France (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    late 18th - early 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Piranesi, Francesco (printmaker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 2, shelf H, box 6

This is a Neo-Classical representation of a famous and internationally renowned antique sculpture. The marble sculpture this print was made after was uncovered at the beginning of the 17th century at Anzio just south of Rome. It was immediately hailed as work of ancient genius and beauty and was added to the Borghese collection in the Villa Borghese in Rome where it held pride of place. The Borghese Warrior, as he was commonly known, became a common stop off for gentlemen of the Grand Tour during the 18th century – when this print was made. Thr print was designed towards the end of the 18th century by the engraver Francesco Piranesi, the son of the more famous Giovanni Battista Piranesi (known for his vistas of dramatic and enchanting Roman ruins). It was made for a French album of prints featuring the most famous and revered classical sculptures of the age. In his representation of this famous relic of antiquity Piranesi reveals many neo-classical concerns. Namely the idealisation of the smooth, heroic, male nude body, giving the figure a timeless quality that transcends fashion and taste as well as the focus on linear pictorial qualities. Piranesi has smoothened, perfected and restored the time-damaged ancient sculpture in his print. In many ways the interpretation of classical sculpture by engravers like Piranesi and the dissemination of their prints throughout Europe were more important for the development of the Neo-classical style than the actual artefacts themselves. Whilst many did go to see the objects that were the inspiration for these new trends in Greece and Rome, objects that were being consistently re-discovered in high-profile archaeological excavations, most did not and learnt only through reproductions such as this one. Printed material like this served to illustrate, spread and develop Neo-Classical ideas and trends, making Neo-Classicalism a truly international style. It was these prints that served as the source material for classically inspired paintings, architecture and design.

Physical description

Eroe Combattente; 'Choix des Meilleures Statues Antiques'; Print on paper.

Place of Origin

Italy (possibly, made)
France (possibly, made)


late 18th - early 19th century (made)


Piranesi, Francesco (printmaker)

Materials and Techniques

print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Eroe combattente scultura Greca d'Agasta Efesino, trovato a Porto d'Anzo detto comunemente il Gladiatore d'Borghese, esistente nella Villa Pulciana. A sua Eccellenza il Signor Principe di Youssoupoff Ciamberlano di S. M. Imperiale l'Imperatrice di tutte le Russie.


Height: 628 mm, Width: 448 mm

Descriptive line

Eroe Combattente; 'Choix des Meilleures Statues Antiques'; Print on paper; By Francesco Piranesi; Made in Italy or France; Late 18th - early 19th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum : Printed by G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1874.


Paper; Printing ink






Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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