Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek


This bronze statuette shows a mature, bearded man in an impressive pose, with a steady step and an extended arm movement. The impeccable beauty of the naked body, the full, well-ordered hair and the calm, radiant facial expression make the figure appear timeless. But, it is only through the objects that he holds in his hands that the man unequivocally identifies himself: lightning and thunder are characteristics and powerful weapons of Zeus, god of the weather. The statuette was made around 525 BC in a Corinthian workshop.

The "father of gods and people" - as the poet Homer calls him in the Iliad in the eighth century BC – is depicted here without a counterpart. He is not shown in a scenic context, but is conceived as a single figure, the image of the highest Greek god in all his power, which he can use at any time and against anyone.

The motif of the weather-god, brandishing arms, was already known in the Ancient Orient and in Egypt since the second millennium BC. As a hurler of lightning bolts, the Munich Zeus is characteristic of the late archaic and early classical image of the god. From the middle of the fifth century BC onwards, the ruler of Olympus only rarely appeared in action.