From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Dying Slave is a sculpture by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Created between 1513 and 1516, it was to serve with another figure, the Rebellious Slave, at the tomb of Pope Julius II. It is a marble figure 2.28 metres (7' 6") in height, and is held at the Louvre. The left wrist is strapped to the back of the neck, and there is a band around the chest. A monkey, only partially carved, grasps the left shin, representing art as mere "aping" (mimesis) or suggesting earthly passions. The artist and work were influenced by the late-BC Rhodian sculpture Laocoön and his Sons.
In 1976 the art historian Richard Fly wrote that the sculpture "suggests that moment when life capitulates before the relentless force of dead matter".