The Pythagoras monument is located in the residential centre of Metaponto, in Piazza Giovanni XXIII. It is the first statue in the world in classical style, in a man-size placed in a shrine,
depicting the most real features of the Master Pythagoras, who died in Metaponto, after teaching there in the last phase of his life for about twenty years. The monument was inaugurated on 17 May 2019, as part of the Matera 2019 European Capital of Culture program and, specifically, the 'Capital for a Day' project.
The creation of this work was intended to fill an inexplicable centuries-old gap, since Pythagoras, unlike other great philosophers represented by beautiful statues in various parts of the world, lacked a monument in his honour, apart from the modern-style one on his native island of Samos in Greece, which depicts him in his youth.
The statue is an extension of the herm in the Capitoline Museums in Rome which, as can be seen from the historiographical notes, is taken from a Greek original from the mid-fifth century BC, and is therefore highly reliable. Pythagoras is depicted, in human form and in his most probable features, wearing a headdress consisting of a band of woven fabric above a cap, probably made of leather, based on the testimony of Claudio Eliano, a Roman writer who, in his work Varia Historia (XII, 32), reports that the philosopher used to dress in oriental fashion and wear a bandage (tenia or fascia) knotted around his head, similar to the headdress worn today in North Africa and the Near and Middle East. This kind of turban establishes a link with the tradition developed from the Hellenistic period onwards, according to which Pythagoras was a cultural mediator between West and East.
Three spheres are positioned at the base of the tetrahedron, representing the astronomical intuition of Pythagoras, the first to introduce the concept of 'harmony of the spheres' according to the conception of the universe as a system of numerical proportions.
The inscription at the foot of the monument is impressive: "To Him who taught, lived and died here in harmony with the kosmos".
The monument appears to be the natural conclusion of the life cycle of an extraordinary man who in Samos turned his finger towards the heavens, evidently to draw divine inspiration, and in Metaponto with a knowing gaze and a steady hand indicated with his finger the summa of his wisdom: the tetrad, the tetrahedron, the perfect solid composed of triangles in which is expressed the sacred Tetraktys, the symbol of the Pythagorean school, reproduced in luminescence also at the base of the monument.
One cannot choose where to be born, only where to die, and Pythagoras chose Metaponto, in whose Agora, thanks to its position slightly raised from the road surface, his statue will continue the ideal dialogue with those who still today find in his "Golden Verses" the wisdom and farsightedness universally recognised.