Caestus

  • Charles H. Niehaus, Caestus, modeled 1883, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Marie J. Niehaus, 1965.29

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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.

Title
Caestus
Artist
Date
modeled 1883
On View
Dimensions
35 in. (88.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Marie J. Niehaus

Mediums
Mediums Description
bronze
Classifications
Keywords
  • Dress – historic – classical dress
  • Dress – accessory – glove
  • Dress – uniform – sports uniform
  • Occupation – sport – boxing
  • Figure male – nude
Object Number
1965.29
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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