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The Calf Bearer: The Story of the Magnificent Ancient Greek Sculpture

Calf Bearer ancient greek statieThe ancient Greek statue the “Calf Bearer” upon its discovery. Credit: Public Domain

This is the first known photograph of the magnificent ancient Greek statue of Moschophoros, also known in English as “The Calf Bearer” when it was discovered on the Acropolis in 1864.

The arresting statue, dated to c. 560 BC and estimated to have originally measured 1.65 meters (5.4 feet) in height, is now in the Acropolis Museum.

calf bearerCredit: Public Domain

The inscription on the plinth claims that the statue was dedicated by someone named Rhombos (possibly Kombos or Bombos; the beginning of the name is missing) to Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

Grecian Delight supports Greececalf bearerThe “Calf Bearer.” Credit: Public Domain

The man in the sculpture is smiling, which is a unique and new feature compared to earlier Greek statues.

The condition of the Moschophoros is poor and it has tragically been broken in some areas. The legs are missing below the knees on both sides. The hands are broken off. The genitals and the left thigh have separated from the whole sculpture.

Additionally, the lower half of the face (the chin area) has been chipped off. The foot, standing on its plinth, is now connected to the base, however.

The form of the calf is well preserved, while Moschophoros’s eyes, which had been created from another substance, either glass or gemstones, perhaps, are absent.

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is a treasure trove of Greek history from prehistoric times through the greatest days of Greece’s Golden Ages. Built over streets in the ancient city, visitors walk over a reinforced glass floor and peer down into carefully-excavated streets and buildings, gazing back into the history of the city itself.

Opened in 2009, the new Acropolis Museum faces the monument from the very heart of the picturesque Plaka district. It is ten times larger than the previous museum, which was built on the hill of the Acropolis itself.

Stunning natural light is a focal element of its architectural design, with its creators aspiring to create a simple and precise museum with the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greece.

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