The Dying Slave is a sculpture by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Created between 1513 and 1516, it was to serve with another figure, the Rebellious Slave, at the tomb of Pope Julius II. It is a marble figure 2.28 metres (7' 6") in height, and is held at the Louvre, Paris.
The man's left wrist is strapped to the back of the neck, and there is a band around his chest. A monkey, only partially carved, grasps his left shin, representing either art as mere "aping" (mimesis) or suggesting earthly passions. The artist and work were influenced by the late BC Rhodian sculpture Laocoön and His Sons.
In 1976 the art historian Richard Fly wrote that it "suggests that moment when life capitulates before the relentless force of dead matter". However, in a recent scholarly volume entitled The Slave in European Art, Charles Robertson discusses the Dying slave in the context of real slavery in Italy during the time of the Renaissance.
|Michelangelo's Slaves, Smarthistory|
- Panofsky, Erwin. "The First Two Projects of Michelangelo's Tomb of Julius II". The Art Bulletin, Volume 19, No. 4, December 1937. pp. 561-579.
- Fly, Richard. Shakespeare's Mediated World. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1976. p.30.
- Charles Robertson, "Allegory and Ambiguity in Michealangelo's Slave", in The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem, ed. Elizabeth McGrath and Jean Michel Massing, London (The Warburg Institute)2012
- "Michelangelo's Slaves". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
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