This is one of the most famous ancient Greek statues, one of the few large bronzes surviving in the Severe style, late 6th century BC.
The original is in the Delphi museum. The group, comprised of a charioteer, horses and a groom, was erected in the northwest part of the sanctuary to commemorate the victory of the Sicilian tyrant Polyzalos of Gela at the Pythic Games in 474. Only the charioteer
remains. The statue's excellent condition is due to the fact that it was buried by a rock fall in 373 when the sanctuary was destroyed by an earthquake.
It is a large bronze statue cast in several parts by the age-old lost wax technique. The charioteer was standing upright on his chariot. His tunic falls in heavy, fluted folds; the face is majestically still, with firm features. The strong chin, straight brows, and curls escaping from the headband are similar to faces in the Severe style seen on Attic pottery.
The chariot race was considered the most glorious and costly race of all. The tyrant's victory was seen as a political event. After the fall of the tyrant, the people of Gela had the prince's titles removed from the inscription, which reminded them too forcefully of their former enslavement.
The life-size statue was found during the excavation of the Delphi sanctuary. It is the work of an unknown sculptor and was part of a
votive group, a team of four bronze horses celebrating the victory of Polyzalos, the tyrant of Gela, at a chariot race at the Pythic Games.
This is stated in the dedication engraved on the base of the statue. A few fragments from the group are kept in the Delphi museum - a
horse's tail and legs, reins and a boy's arm. It was probably made about 474 BC. The charioteer, wearing a headband and a tunic falling in neat folds, is standing in a hieratic but serene frontal position, holding the reins in his right hand. The left arm is missing. The victor's noble face, with astonishingly expressive coloured stone eyes,
radiates with joy and pride.
Reproduction in hand patinated resin