Head of a Gladiator
20th century, Marble
The traditional Latin phrase with which Roman gladiators presented themselves in the arena is inscribed at the base of this striking marble bust by Rozel. Very little is known about the artist, though several works from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century with his signature have appeared on the market, and we may consider them in the context of this one. For the most part, they are bronze or painted terracotta sculptures that appear to have been executed around 1890 in the Goldscheider manufactory in Vienna. This work, therefore, should likely be dated to the1880s-90s rather than the first decades of the 20th century, when it was, however, customary to depict fallen soldiers from the First World War as ancient, heroic gladiators. A larger replica of this sculpture was later made for a memorial monument to the artist erected in 1909 in the gardens of the Louvre by Aimé-Morot, when the figure of the gladiator was still quite popular.