The Marforio, a white marble statue located in the Capitoline Museum, depicts Oceanus, a divine figure from classical antiquity known as the embodiment of the sea. The figure is associated with several sea-related symbols such as a trident held in one hand, a draped cloak decorated with shells and sea creatures, and a sea serpent at his base, indicating his sovereignty over the world's oceans.
This impressive statue stands slightly larger than life-size at about 2.5 meters in height. It captures the figure of Oceanus in a seated position, with an intricately detailed muscular body, despite notable wear over time. Observable weathering on the statue speaks to its age while the expertise of its carving is still evident underneath the worn surface. The statue's facial features, including deep-set eyes and a prominent forehead, suggest a sense of authority and maturity.
The exact date of the statue’s creation remains uncertain, although it's widely agreed to have been sculpted during the late Imperial Period of Roman art, around the 2nd Century A.D. Marforio was discovered in the area of the Forum of Augustus, a significant public space in Rome during the Roman era. It is believed that the statue might have been placed dominantly within the forum or possibly as part of an elaborate water fountain.
Its modern name, "Marforio", is believed to originate from the location where it was found, in the Forum of Mars, also known as 'Forum Martis'. The statue is part of the group known as Rome's 'talking statues', which served as public bulletin boards for posted messages or satirical verses criticizing political and religious authorities—a common practice of social commentary and protest.