D’ailleurs c’est un ancien usage des sculpteurs,de mettre des esclaves aux pieds des statues des rois.Il vaudrait mieux y représenter des citoyans libres et heureuxVoltaire, Siècle de Louis XIV
From among the millions of slaves who lived in Ancient Rome, very few are known with a individualized identity whose modern reception may be reconstructed. We dofind, for instance, the names of Spartacus and Eunus, leaders of important slave revolts in Italy and Sicily respectively, in the last century of the RomanRepublic. The influence of Spartacus in the modern history of progressive political ideas is well-known, and his cinematographic success, both on the big screen and on television, is also evident. Nevertheless, that presence is much less frequent in historical painting or in sculpture. The aim of this paper is to collect the modern paintings and sculptures dedicated to the aforementioned slave leaders, to analysethe motives advanced by the artist, and to study the cultural and political context of these works, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the modern reception of these figures.