The antique bronze statue of an athlete, 192 cm tall, taken from the sea bed between the islet of Vele Orjule and the island of Lošinj on 27 April 1999, is the only large bronze found to date on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. It is assumed that it was deposited in the sea at the beginning of the 1st century when it was thrown overboard during bad weather because of the danger of the ship overturning or as a sacrifice to the gods for safe passage through the Osor channel to a prosperous destination/port of call on the north Adriatic.
The statue represents an athlete, a young sportsman, at the moment of cleaning oil, dust and sweat from his body with a scraping tool after a competition. During restoration, which lasted 7 years, analysing the material and style of workmanship, the statue was dated from the 2nd – 1st century B.C. while the prototype on which it was made is considerably older, from the middle of the 4th century B.C.
From nine well-known variations of the Apoxyomenos prototype (the most famous being the bronze statue from Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, discovered in 1896 in Ephesus), the Lošinj statue is the most perfect and best-preserved. The statue’s sculptor is unknown but the classical beauty and high quality of workmanship testify to a consummate craftsman.
The original statue is kept in the Museum of Apoxyomenos in the center of Mali Lošinj (former Kvarner Palace), which is its new home and a permanent address.