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Salambo se promène dans Rome…

The Dying Gaul

The Romans left us a great legacy, which today helps us understand better their ancient civilisation. They recorded practically everything in the form of engravings, mosaics, reliefs and sculpture, the latter being a highly regarded art form in their culture.  Among the many sculptures lying in museums in Rome, one of my favourites is the Dying Gaul in the Capitoline museums.

The Dying Gaul

The statue, found in 1622 in the Horti Sallustiani on the Ludovisi estate near the via Veneto, is a Roman copy of an ancient greek sculpture made of bronze. The original statue formed part of a monument the king of Pergamon, Attalus I Soter, erected around 225 BC to celebrate his victory against the Celtic tribes who had newly arrived in Asia Minor. The memorable victory earned Attalus the name of Soter (the saviour) and the title of king. Attalus I was also a loyal ally of Rome who played a significant role during the Macedonian wars fought by the Romans at the  same time as the Punic wars in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

The statue, which represents a gallic warrior agonizing over his mortal wounds, has inspired many artists because of its strong emotional powers yet highly realistic features. Caravaggio’s St John the Baptist at the Corsini gallery, is depicted in exactly the same stance as the Dying Gaul. The Gaul, recognizable from his distinctive hair style and moustache, was equally admired by the many 19th century expert travellers doing the Grand Tour. It may seem obvious today to like such an overly famous work of art, however, one can still see it with fresh eyes and be moved by it.

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9 comments on “The Dying Gaul

  1. Nicole:)
    December 4, 2012

    I am currently writing a research paper on how the arts in humanities depict suffering, which leads to empathy. The connection I am trying to portrait is how the arts should be more consciously used in the nursing profession. I chose the Dying Gaul in my paper because he depicts not only one who suufers, but effects the viewer. They see his bent and twisted body, furrowed brow, and misery as he battles death. The onlooker wishes to rush in and help him. This is just what a nurse does when he/she sees the client in sorrow, agony, or pain of any form. He/she wishes to rush in and relieve them of all their pain. This is known as empathy, or where the nurse relates to the issues that the patient is facing. What does anyone think?

    • Kellyy
      December 4, 2012

      I am an education major and I have taken humanities in college. I think your point is very vivid. I enjoyed the arts myself and am currently looking into how I can relate the arts to my major. This is an awesome way to look at it. However, I don’t think I can use suffering! I don’t want to make the children I will be teaching suffer. Maybe caring… and how that relates to empathy? This will help me! However, I got on this site to look at a project I have due for my general ed. course. I think you’re going somewhere with your paper though! Keep up the good work!

      • Nicole:)
        December 4, 2012

        Thank you Kellyy. I am currently in humanities and I began this paper to focus the relation between humanities and nursing! When I first began I did not think there was one! However, I have learned that humanities is beneficial. That would be a great way to incorporate your thoughts into a project: caring and empathy. It makes sense as well. Maybe you can use a painting like Durbante’s “Mother and Child”? That would be a fine way to express care and empathy for the two. Or maybe you got on this site for the Dying Gaul himself?

  2. Kellyy
    December 4, 2012

    I can see that working. I got on this site to find something that desired care, like a child. I think through suffering, people can see this and say that whoever that being is needs care. This makes me think of the children I wish to one day educate. I hope to show them a care beyond their understanding. It takes me to where you were discussing empathy. I think that should be our main priority.. to focus on others. Whoever it may be, client, child, family. We should see their needs, care for them, and meet them. You know?

  3. Kellyy
    December 4, 2012

    I think “Mother and Child” would be a great painting to use… Thank you so much!

  4. Nicole:)
    December 4, 2012

    I definetly think that we need to reach out to others in every situation as well. It defines empathy when we mend to the needs of others. I think we could use more of it today. I hope to reach out to others through my profession and see them not only touched, but others begin to reach out to those in need as well. I defientely believe we can see the need to help the Dying Gaul. Since your an education major, I would like to comment that in my paper I discussed how nurses needed more humanities in their cirriculum, just as much as the science and math that they use cognitively. They use the humanities… like I said previoulsy… just without thought of it.

  5. Kellyy
    December 4, 2012

    I could not agree with you more. I hope in the education system that I reach out to those that are in need, whatever it may be. I’d say the nurses need the math and science more than anything, but it would be of good benefit to put the humanities in the subject matter. More frequently @ least. I mean it couldn’t hurt their train of thought when they need to reflect back on the day, or draw an analogy to it could it?

  6. Nicole:)
    December 4, 2012

    My point exacly. I enjoyed writing this paper and I am glad that I found some common ground with someone on this. Thank you!

  7. Kellyy
    December 4, 2012

    Np… g2g work on my project :/

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