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Statue of Paris

Roman art

This sculpture probably corresponds to the statue of Paris mentioned in 1700 in enclosure two of the villa, which was set in a niche in the north wall next to the theatre. In 1833, it is mentioned in its current location in Room VII.

The male figure, identified as Paris, is nude with the exception of a pileus – a Phrygian cap – and a mantle wrapped around his left arm. The sinuous pose of his body, supported by a trunk, places the weight on his left foot while his right leg is bent.

It is probably a Roman copy, datable to the first century CE, of an original bronze attributed by Pliny to the sculptor Euphranor, who was active in the fourth century BCE.

Object details

I secolo d.C.
white marble
altezza senza plinto cm 135; altezza testa con pileo cm 19

Borghese Collection, mentioned in 1700 in enclosure two of the villa, in one of the two niches in the wall next to the theatre (Montelatici 1700, p. 74) and in Room VII in 1833, Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese, 1833, C., p. 53, no. 168. Purchased by the Italian State, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 19th century - The following are restored: the upper part of the Phrygian cap, the nose, the right arm and drapery, the trunk supporting the figure complete with the plinth, the lower part of the right left including the foot, the left foot, the leaf covering the genitals. The neck was reattached with an imprecise suture.
  • 1996–97 Liana Persichelli


This standing figure is supported by a tree trunk, upon which he rests his right arm, which is bent, and he is holding an apple in his hand. His left arm is behind his back, and he gently rests his hand on his buttocks. The body is portrayed in a sinuous pose that juts to the left, with the right leg slightly bent and the right foot lifted up and supported by the toes. The figure is nude with the exception of a length of fabric draped over the trunk and partially covering his left forearm. His head is turned to the left and thick curls escape from his pileus (a Phrygian cap), framing his face. He has small, partially open lips and a prominent nose and chin. The sculpture has been identified as Paris based on iconographic precedent and the apple of justice that he holds in his hand and will give to Venus. It is a replica of a statue type traditionally attributed to Euphranor, a sculptor active in the fourth century BCE. Indeed, Pliny attributed the artist with a bronze statue of Alexander Paris that conveyed the various moral qualities emphasised in the different episodes of the myth, including judge of beauty, lover of Helen and killer of Achilles (Naturalis Historia XXXIV, 77). Although the original unfortunately does not survive, numerous variants are believed to derive from it, including the Borghese statue. Lippold has noted that the features of the Borghese replica are only vaguely described (p. 16, no. 2764), while Dacos sees an affinity between the statue and a copy in the Glyptothek, Munich and stresses that the rendering is imprecise and far from the characteristic features of the original (1961, pp. 382–384). The sinuous pose of the body leaning on a tree trunk, the lean physique, the clear definition of the groin and the sturdy style of the structure link the work to the Peloponnesian tradition of the fourth century BCE, in the form of a reworking datable to the first century CE.

It probably corresponds to the ‘Paride ignudo col pomo in mano’ (‘Nude Paris holding an apple’) that Montelatici noted in 1700 was located in enclosure two of the villa, set in a niche in the north wall next to the theatre (p. 74). In 1833, it was listed in its current location in Room VII in the Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese (C., p. 53, no. 168).

Giulia Ciccarello

  • D. Montelatici, Villa Borghese fuori di Porta Pinciana con l’ornamenti che si osservano nel di lei Palazzo, Roma 1700, p. 74.
  • Indicazione delle opere antiche di scultura esistenti nel primo piano della Villa Borghese, Roma 1840, p. 23, n. 4.
  • A. Nibby, Roma nell’anno 1838, Roma 1841, p. 923, n. 4.
  • Indicazione delle opere antiche di scultura esistenti nel primo piano della Villa Borghese, Roma 1854 (1873), p. 26, n. 4.
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 43.
  • J. Six, Euphranor, in “Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts”, 24, 1909, pp. 7-27, in part. p. 21, fig. 9.
  • G. Giusti, The Borghese Gallery and the Villa Umberto I in Rome, Città di Castello, p. 44.
  • Photographische Einzelaufnahmen antiker Sculpturen, X, 1 Munchen 1926, p. 16, n. 2764 (G. Lippold).
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, (3° Edizione), Roma 1954, p. 21.
  • R. Calza, Catalogo del Gabinetto fotografico Nazionale, Galleria Borghese, Collezione degli oggetti antichi, Roma 1957, p. 9, n. 38.
  • N. Dacos, Le Pâris d’Euphranor, in “Bulletin de correspondance hellénique”, 85, 1961. pp. 371-399, in part. 382-384.
  • U. Jantzen, Der Paris des Eufranore, in “Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts” 79, 1964, pp. 241-256, in part. p. 254, nota 14.
  • P. Moreno, Museo e Galleria Borghese, La collezione archeologica, Roma 1980, p. 19.
  • P. Moreno, S. Staccioli, Le collezioni della Galleria Borghese, Milano 1981, p. 100, fig. a p. 85.
  • L. Todisco, Scultura greca del IV secolo, Milano 1993, p. 92, n. 193.
  • P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 173, n. 3.
  • P. Moreno, A. Viacava, I marmi antichi della Galleria Borghese. La collezione archeologica di Camillo e Francesco Borghese, Roma 2003, pp. 237-238, n. 226.
  • A. Corso, La statua in bronzo di Paride opera di Eufranore, in ”Rendiconti dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei” s. 9, v. 29, 2018, pp. 153-162, in part. p. 160.
  • Schede di catalogo 12/ 01008492, P. Moreno; aggiornamento G. Ciccarello 2020.