Its head has proportions similar to those of Praxiteles's Aphrodite of Cnidus, and thus it has been argued to be a copy of a Praxitelean original, or at least to be Praxitelean in style. Others argue it is an eclectic creation from the Roman era, mixing several styles from the "second classicism". Its left arm may have held a bow.
Found complete in Rome in the 17th century, though its exact early provenance is obscure, it was originally in the Borghese collection, until it was moved to the Medici collection at Villa Medici, where it was recorded in 1704. Unlike many ancient sculptures in the Medici collection, it was not moved to Florence by Cosimo III de' Medici, remaining in Rome until it was removed to accompany the Medici Niobe Group in 1769-70. Though it has since declined in reputation, it retained its praise through the 18th century, as one of the most copied Roman sculptures. It was seen in the Tribuna of the Uffizi by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who commented:
|“||It is difficult to conceive anything more delicately beautiful than the Ganymede; but the spirit-like lightness, the softness, the flowing perfection of [the Apollino's] forms, surpass it. The countenance, though exquisitely lovely and gentle, is not divine. There is a womanish vivacity of winning yet passive happiness, and yet a boyish inexperience exceedingly delightful. Through the limbs there seems to flow a spirit of life which gives them lightness. Nothing can be more perfectly lovely than the legs, and the union of the feet with the ankles, and the fading away of the lines of the feet to the delicate extremities. It is like a spirit even in dreams. The neck is long yet full, and sustains the head with its profuse and knotted hair as if it needed no sustaining.||”|
There is also an "Apollino Milani" in Florence's National Archaeological Museum and one carved by Niccolò Bazzanti of Pietro Bazzanti e Figlio Art Gallery of Florence at Museo Civico Revoltella, Trieste.
- As represented by Head Ma421 in the Louvre. (Italian) Giulio Emmanuele Rizzo, Prassitele, Milan et Rome, 1932, p. 80-81.
- (French) Martinez, "Les styles praxitélisants", p. 335.
- Augustus J.C. Hare, "Florence: The Uffizi"
- Paolo Alessandro Maffei's note to Domenico de' Rossi's plate in Raccolta delle statue antiche e moderne (Rome, 1704:pl xxxix) gives a misleading early provenance, according to Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: the lure of classical sculpture, 1500-1900 1981:146-48.
- Maffei, 1704.
- Haskell and Penny, 1981:147; Hans Gross, Rome in the Age of Enlightenment: The Post-Tridentine Syndrome and the ancien regime places the sculpture in Rome.
- In a letter (Briefe, Walther Rehm, ed. IV:27), Johann Joachim Winckelmann noted it as one of the most copied.
- Guido Mansuelli, Galleria degli Uffizi: Le sculture (Rome 1958-61) noted in Haskell and Penny 1981:147 note 6.
- Masau, Maria (1996). Pasquale Revoltella, 1795-1869: sogno e consapevolezza del cosmopolitismo triestino.
- JSTOR: That 'Most Rare Master Monsii Le Gros' and His 'Marsyas'
- JSTOR: Greek Sculpture and Roman Copies I: Anton Raphael Mengs and the Eighteenth Century