Charles Henry Niehaus (American, Cincinnati, Ohio 1855–1935 Grantwood, New Jersey)
1883–85; cast 1901
35 1/4 x 15 x 15 in. (89.5 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1907
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
The Munich-trained Niehaus modeled Caestus in Rome, combining the inspiration of ancient sculpture with his penchant for anatomical realism. The work depicts a rigidly posed athlete preparing for a fight by binding leather straps in a crisscross pattern around his forearms. This arrangement of straps, known as a caestus, was the ancient Roman equivalent of the modern day boxing glove. Lead or iron weights were often secured over the knuckles to increase the impact of the blows.
Signature: [top of base, right side]: C.H.NIEHAUS.SC.1901.
Marking: [foundry mark, top of base, left side, stamped]: GORHAM MFG. CO. FOUNDERS