discovered the Riace bronzes. 50 years later it’s a mystery

August 16, 1972 marks a very important date for history: the Riace bronzes were found. Today, 50 years after the discovery, the mystery is rekindled.

Statues by Riace Bronzes (Photo from Instagram)

The Riace bronzes are a sculptural ensemble considered a true masterpiece of Greek statuary. The author is not known to date around the 5th century. The statues were discovered on August 16, 1972, and the aspect that most impressed archaeologists was the perfect state of preservation.

The discovery took place in the vicinity of Riace Marina, therefore inheriting the name. As said before, we are in the presence of two very precious examples of classical art, significant testimony to the work of the great ancient masters. Theories about the attribution of a specific sculptor have been debated.

Currently they are kept in the National Museum of Reggio Calabria which every year welcomes a large number of visitors, intrigued by the charm and mystery that hides behind these huge statues. Today, however, 50 years after their discovery, the Bronzes are at the center of controversy. Why?

The Riace bronzes, still shrouded in mystery today? What are the two statues hiding? The details

The two statues were found on August 16, 1972 thanks to the curiosity of a young diver who was amazed by the presence of an arm under water. Once brought back to the surface, the sculptural group received a first cleaning intervention which brought out the extraordinary craftsmanship of the work.

Over time, the bronzes underwent various analyzes and a restoration process that lasted about five years. Studies have shown that in addition to bronze, other alloys were also used to produce the works: silver – primarily – ivory and copper.

Exactly 50 years have passed since the discovery of the two statues and the hypotheses concerning a possible attribution are still debated, with the same intensity. What is certain is that they are original works that belonged to Greek statuary. Among the various avenues are those who argue that they may have been conceived at different times.

But who really are the Bronzes? They are almost certainly characters related to the world of heroes and deities. in fact, it is assumed that the works were commissioned from the hypothetical master to enrich a city that intended to pay homage to its champion. As we said, the doors of research are still open.

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What are the news? Tuscany intends to throw two copies of the Bronzes into the sea (for a year) to study the effects of water on matter. Calabria’s opinion is completely divisive and sees this research as a waste of resources. According to experts, one year is not enough to get results.

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