Boy with Thorn

Boy with Thorn The Boy with Thorn is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a naked boy sitting on a rock pulling a thorn from the bottom of hi...
Boy with Thorn
A Tour of the Capitoline Museums
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Exploring Ancient Greek Masterpieces

Boy with Thorn - Musei Capitolini

The “Boy with Thorn” is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a naked boy sitting on a rock pulling a thorn from the bottom of his foot. The boy has been identified as a young shepherd. The image of the extraction of a thorn from the foot was invented in the Hellenistic period.

It originated from the Greek’s interest in observing everyday life actions and representing real-life situations. Many copies have been made of this image in bronze and marble. In this sculpture, the head, body, and rocky seat were cast together as one piece.

The statue had also been given the title “The faithful boy” based on an ancient story invented to give this masterpiece a more heroic tale. The faithful messenger was a shepherd boy. He first delivered his message to the Roman Senate, and only after his duty was done, did he stop to remove a painful thorn from his foot. The Roman Senate commemorated the event by commissioning the bronze statue.

Several Hellenistic marble variants that have been discovered, such as the “Thorn-Puller” at the British Museum. However, none match the qualities of the bronze. Thus recent scholarship has credited this statue as a Roman bronze copy of the third century CE, with a head adapted from an archaic prototype.

Boy with Thorn

  • Title: Boy with Thorn
  • Date: 3rd century BCE
  • Material: Bronze
  • Museums: Capitoline Museums

A Tour of the Capitoline Museums

  • Colossus of Constantine
  • Capitoline Wolf
  • Dying Gaul
  • Boy with Thorn
  • Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
  • Self-Portrait by Giovanni Bellini

Explore Italian Museums

Rome Museums and Historical Sites

  • The Vatican Museums
  • Capitoline Museums
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • National Roman Museum, Museo Nazionale Romano

Florence Museums

  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Accademy’s Gallery

Milan Museums

  • Santa Maria delle Grazie

Bologna Museums

  • The Archaeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna
  • Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita

Exploring Ancient Greek Masterpieces

  • Mask of Agamemnon
  • Statue of a Kouros
  • Peplos Kore
  • Artemision Bronze
  • The Parthenon Marbles
  • Caryatids of Erechtheum
  • Boy with Thorn
  • Dying Gaul
  • The Winged Victory of Samothrace
  • Laocoön and His Sons


“As the picture teaches the coloring, so sculpture the anatomy of form.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Photo Credit:1) By Yair Haklai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

20 September 2023, 16:02 | Views: 1868

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