The antique marble prototype for this reduction was first discovered in 1611. Initially in the Borghese collection, it was purchased by Napoleon in 1807 and is now in the Louvre (inv. no. MR 224). The antique sculpture, signed by Agasias of Ephesus (1st century BC), recalls the work of Lysippos, the great classical Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Owing in part to this Hellenistic context, the initial identification of the figure as a gladiator has been much disputed over the centuries. It is now regarded as a warrior or swordsman, as indicated by the reconstruction of the sword in the present model, which only partially survived in the antique.
F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique. The Lure of Classical Sculpture, New Haven/ London, 1981, pp. 221-4