The Borghese Ares

The Borghese Ares (Mars), Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

The Borghese Ares is a Roman marble statue of the imperial era of the first or second century AD. It is seven feet tall and identifiable as Ares by the helmet and by the ankle ring given him by his lover Aphrodite. This statue possibly preserves some features of an original work in bronze, now lost, of the fifth century BC. Formerly part of the Borghese collection, it was purchased from there in 1807 by Napoleon and now stands in the Musee du Louvre.

The cult and representation of Ares are very rare in the ancient Greek world, especially in sculpture. It had been thought that this statue may be derived from one by Alcamenes, an Athenian sculptor who, according to Pausanias, made a statue of Ares that was erected on the Athenian agora. However, the temple of Ares to which he refers had only been moved from Acharnes and re-sited in the Agora in Augustus’s time, making this a chronological impossibility. So, this statue may not be a copy of Alcamenes’s, but instead a Roman creation copying the style of Neo-Classicism.

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