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Caestus

modeled 1883 Charles H. Niehaus Born: Cincinnati, Ohio 1855 Died: Cliffside Park, New Jersey 1935 bronze 35 in. (88.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Marie J. Niehaus 1965.29 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, W320


Luce Center Label

A caestus is a battle glove that was the ancient world’s equivalent of brass knuckles. Greek and Roman gladiators made these by wrapping leather around lead, metal studs, or even stones to add force to their punches. The matches became so bloody, however, that the caestus was banned in the first century AD. Charles Niehaus modeled this fighter while studying in Rome, where he learned to portray the human figure by copying ancient Italian sculptures and monuments. In this work, he rendered the fighter in great anatomical detail, emphasizing the clenched muscles in the combatant’s face as he concentrates on creating his caestus.

Keywords

Dress - accessory - glove

Dress - historic - classical dress

Dress - uniform - sports uniform

Figure male - nude

Occupation - sport - boxing

sculpture

metal - bronze

About Charles H. Niehaus

Born: Cincinnati, Ohio 1855 Died: Cliffside Park, New Jersey 1935

More works in the collection by
Charles H. Niehaus