An icon of Hellenistic art, the figurative Greek sculpture known as the Laocoon Group, or Laocoon and His Sons, is a monumental statue which is on display at the Museo Pio Clementino, in the Vatican Museums, Rome. It is a marble copy of a bronze sculpture, which - according to the Roman writer Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) - depicted the Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons Antiphas and Thymbraeus being killed by giant snakes, as described by the Roman poet Virgil (70 BCE - 19 CE) in his epic poem the Aeneid. The statue, which was seen and revered by Pliny the Elder in the palace of Titus Flavius Vespasianus (39-81 CE), the future Roman Emperor Titus (ruled 79-81), was attributed by Pliny to three sculptors from the Greek island of Rhodes: Hagesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus. This attribution coincides with an inscription on a fragment from other similar marbles discovered separately from the Laocoon itself. Despite persistent uncertainty as to its date and details of its original provenance, Laocoon and His Sons is considered to be one of the greatest works of Greek sculpture of the Hellenistic Period.
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