The Marble Boxer

Boxer, Marble, Stadio dei Marmi, Rome, Italy

Located in the Foro Italico, an Italian sports complex that was created under the direction of Benito Mussolini, the Stadio dei Marmi is covered in faux Greco-Roman statues that owe more to fascism than to the classical period.

Construction of the open air stadium was completed in 1928 as a training center for the students of the nearby Academy of Physical Education. The central grass field is ringed by a short stack of cascading stadium seats on the top level of which is a corresponding row of classical athletic statues holding modern sports equipment.

As was the classical style the figures stand naked and posed each one holding an implement of their sport, from a cricket bat, to a soccer ball, to a tennis racket, to the more traditional discus. Fifty-nine figures in all stand around the top of the playing field giving the overall appearance of a contemporary Greek stadium. Up close however, the figures belie the angular features and severe facial characteristics of more traditional brutalist fascist statuary.

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