Five Facets of Photography – Leni Riefenstahl

The University of Cambridge Museum of Classical archaeology has on display a cast of the Roman marble copy of a Greek bronze sculpture of a discus thrower, Diskobolus.  In a project called ‘Beyond the Pale’, the Museum records how sculpture can be appropriated for evil ends.

‘In the 20th Century, the Nazi regime claimed a “racial unity” with the ancient Greeks, and saw the ideal “Aryan” German body in their statues.  The Discobolus [sic] was of particular importance to Hitler … who paid millions of lire to bring another Roman version of the statue to Munich, where it gave content to his Fascist politics.  The Statue had also played aninspirational role in film-director Leni Riefenstahl’s film documenting the 1936 Berlin Olympics.’

Diskobolus, Museum of Classical Archaeology
The Discus Thrower, Leni Riefenstahl, 1936

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