Head of the Diadoumenos



Head of the Diadoumenos




mid 2nd Century AD




Thasian marble, Paros 2, Aphrodisias
12 3/16 x 8 7/16 in. (30.9 x 21.4 cm)

Object Number



The original statue commemorated an athlete's victory in the games, expressed by tying a ribbon (diadem) around his head. (The statue's name refers to this ribbon-binding.) Its legendary fame in antiquity is attested by the Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Younger (62-ca. 114 AD) who records it in his list of works by Polykleitos: "a youth with boyish forms binding his hair, famous for its price, 100 talents" (diadumenum fecit molliter iuvenem centum talentis nobilitatum).

Polykleitos of Argos, one of the most famous sculptors of antiquity, was celebrated for his exquisite and perfectly balanced representations of the human body. In the original, the weight of the idealizing body gives the impression of perfect equilibrium, though in practice the pose is awkward and stiff. The fascination with a mathematical expression of thoughts searching towards a remote ideal, widespread at this time, would find its most profound expression in Plato's Theory of Forms.

Greek athletic competitions were held at sanctuaries to honor the gods. The calm introspection of the victor implies his humble though self-confident awareness of the divine.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


Nike: Victory and Competition at the Ancient Greek Festival Games, Michael C. Carlos Museum, March 30 - August 18, 1996|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - August 26, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Galleries, September 25, 2013 - Present
Michael C. Carlos Museum Handbook (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1996), 60.
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2002.|
Jasper Gaunt, "New Galleries of Greek & Roman Art at Emory University: The Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 16 (2005), 13-17.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 57.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2004.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Head of the Diadoumenos,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 19, 2019, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7948.

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