"He has that childish quality of doing something in public that absorbs him utterly."—Luke Syson, curator
Antico (Italian, ca. 1460–1528). Spinario (Boy Pulling a Thorn from His Foot), probably modeled by 1496, cast ca. 1501. Bronze, partially gilt (hair) and silvered (eyes). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2012 (2012.157). Learn more about this object.
How does the sculpted body communicate? Hear from Met experts, leading authorities, and rising stars, each with a unique viewpoint on the language of gesture, facial expression, and pose.
Luke Syson: What you're looking at here, really, is the embodiment of an act of concentration. What you can see is his hand just hovering above his foot, his forefinger and his thumb poised to pull this thorn out, and his whole head and shoulders fixed with that sense that he's really focusing on this one gesture that he's about to perform.
He still has that childish quality of doing something in public that absorbs him utterly. It represents a fleeting moment in terms of the gesture he's about to make, but also a fleeting moment in terms of a boy growing up.
Jackie Terrassa: This little object is like an apparition. I imagine walking through the forest and seeing this boy or young man that has golden hair, and that gold hair just glistens kind of like an out-of-this-world figure.
One of the most amazing things about this sculpture is the way in which the language of the body creates this immersed world. If we trace the curvature of the spine up through and over his head, the profile down, it almost creates a circle. It's a complete world, and we're not part of it.