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The Apollo Sauroctonos
The Apollo Sauroctonos (Apollo Lizard-killer) is a 1.49m high ancient sculpture in the Louvremarker, as Inventaire MR 78 (n° usuel Ma 441). It is a 1st - 2nd century AD Roman marble copy of an original by Praxiteles. It shows a nude adolescent male about to catch a lizard climbing up a tree. The left arm, the right hand and the lizard's head are modern restorations.

History

Formerly in the Borghese collection, it was bought by Napoleon in 1807.

Iconography

It could indirectly refer to Apollo's fight against the serpent Python or, if the lizard is an attribute of the god, it could show Apollo in his purifying function, as a destroyer of plagues - Greek gods called smintheus (rat-killer of rat) or parnopios (grasshopper-killer) are certainly known.

Original

The bronze original of this sculpture is attributed by Pliny (XXXIV, 69-70) to the Athenian sculptor Praxiteles. This is usually dated to c.350-340 BC.

Other copies

The original was even copied in reduced form in the Roman era, as we learns in an epigram of Martial (14, 172).

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