Charioteers, 1924

These two limestone figures are modeled after Charioteer of Delphi of Greece, c. 470 BC. They figure 5' high at the main entrance of the Conservation Barn. Robert Allerton gifted these pieces of art in 1924.

Two erect stone figures, copies of a bronze Charioteer of Delphi made for the Art Institute of Chicago from the Greek original, stand on pillars at a park entrance. Each of the statues had just one arm at first, as does the ancient prototype, which shows remnants of an arm and a rein. But shortly after installation at the estate in 1924 the owner decided to have the remaining arms removed because, as he explained, "there was no chariot and there was this arm out, it just looked stupid." So much for art history.

With the arms gone in the park versions, the statues seem more attenuated than the original-despite their being rather stockier interpretations-as the vertical elements in the drapery stretch up to become in effect static fluted columns. This sort of artistic license lends credence to the supposition that for Robert Allerton, symmetry and balance came fist and archaeological exactitude lacked relevance.

If you would like to see a bronze replica with the arm still attached, visit the Workman Gallery of Ancient Mediterranean Cultures at the Spurlock Museum on the UIUC campus.

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515 Old Timber Rd, Monticello, IL 61856 ~ These sculptures can be found at the main entrance of the Conservation Barn.