Apollo of Omphalos

Inv. Scu 638

Originally part of the Albani Collection, the Capitoline Museums’ Apollo is an example of quality sculpture.

There are several theories as to who created the original sculpture from which our Apollo and many others were copied.

Many attribute the original to Calamis, a Greek sculptor active in the middle of the fifth century B.C.

Others believe the original was made by Onatas, another fifth century sculptor. It is also possible that the first sculpture had no connection to the myth of the omphalos and indeed some scholars interpret the surviving copies as representations of Apollo Alexìkakos. The god was worshiped in this the form by the Athenians following the salvation of their city from the plague c. 430-427 B.C.

This statue is a Roman replica of the Apollo of Omphalos. The original statue is no longer extant, but over twenty copies are known to exist, recognizable as such by their close resemblance to each other. The name Apollo of Omphalos was derived from one such copy housed in the Museum of Athens. This famous replica has survived to the modern day largely intact and has preserved an omphalos.

According to mythology, the omphalos was a net-covered rock used to mark the center of the world. One of these stones was kept at Delphi and it is that stone that has supposedly been preserved with the Athens replica.

The weight of the piece rests upon the right leg. The left is slightly withdrawn and held away from the body. The slight outward projection of the right hip is balanced by the outward movement of the arms.

The figure’s head is titled to the right, displaying the god’s long, oval-shaped face. The god’s large, deeply set eyes and soft, full lips dominated his face. His head is crowned by a mass of hair arranged in thin, orderly locks that fall onto his forehead. A thin double-braid or hair runs around his head.

The figure’ hair and other aesthetic features are typical of the severe style popular during the fifth century B.C.

This replica dates to the beginning of the Imperial period.

The work was probably found in Rome.