The Riace bronzes are two of the few surviving full-size ancient Greek bronzes (which were usually melted down in later times) and are now part of the collection of the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia in the nearby city of Reggio Calabria.
There is no clear testimony in ancient literature to identify the athletes or heroes depicted by the bronzes. It seems that the two nudes originally formed part of a votive group in a large sanctuary. Consequently, they were named “Statue A” and “Statue B”. At the time the sculptures were made, much of Calabria, especially the coastal cities, was inhabited by Greek-speaking peoples. The most popular theory is that two separate Greek artists created the bronzes about 30 years apart around the 5th century BC. Statue A was probably created between the years 460 and 450BC, and Statue B between 430 and 420BC. Both sculptures were made using the lost wax casting technique. Statue A portrays a young warrior hero or god with a proud look, conscious of his own beauty and power. Statue B, on the other hand, portrays an older, more mature warrior hero with a relaxed pose and a kind and gentle gaze. The average thickness of the bronze is 8.5mm (0.33in) for Statue A and 7.5mm (0.3in) for Statue B. When created, they held spears and shields, as the hands show, but those have not been found. Additionally, Statue B once wore a helmet over his head and it is thought that Statue A may have worn a wreath over his.