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The Atlas Slave
The Atlas Slave
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in Italian. (December 2011) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Italian article. Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 2,635 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Italian Wikipedia article at [[:it:Atlante (Michelangelo)]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|it|Atlante (Michelangelo))) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

The Atlas Slave is a 2.77m high marble statue by Michelangelo, dated to 1525–1530. It is one of the 'Prisoners', the series of unfinished sculptures for the tomb of Pope Julius II. It is now held in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.


Before the end of the first project for tomb of Pope Julius II (1505), a series of sculptures was planned for the lower part of the mausoleum. This series, the 'Prisoners', would be a number of larger-than-life statues chained up in various poses representing prisoners leaning on the pillars and herms which flanked the niches. As they were coupled with each niche (featuring images of Winged Victory), there were originally supposed to be sixteen or twenty sculptures. In later plans, this number was reduced to twelve (during the second project in 1513), eight (third project, 1516) and in the end perhaps as low as four (sometime during the fourth or fifth project in 1526 and 1532), before the sculptures were definitively removed from the final project plans in 1542.

The first sculptures in the series, of which there remain traces in Michelangelo's papers, are the two Prisoners of Paris, who (since the 19th Century) have come to be known as the "Slaves": the Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave, both carved in Rome around the year 1513.

Media related to Atlas by Michelangelo at Wikimedia Commons