A man is depicted crouching to sharpen a knife on a whetstone, looking up and has a cloth over his left shoulder. This is a reduced version of the famous antique marble in the Uffizi, the knife-sharpener known as Arrotino or the Rotatore, which supposedly represents a Scythian slave preparing the knife for Apollo's flaying of Marsyas. Group sculpture was popular in Hellenistic times, and the Arrotino was part of a group encapsulating all the drama beloved of Hellenistic sculptors — the flaying of Marsyas. Arrotino, the scythian slave is preparing to flay Marsyas, ordered by Apollo after the god had defeated him in a musical contest, this story can be found in Ovid's Metamorphoses 6. 350-400. According to the myth, Marsyas was to be punished by being skinned alive. A barbarian slave was to perform the gruesome act, and here he crouches, sharpening his blade with an ominous mixture of concentration and curiosity on his face, his posture apprehensive yet purposeful. This Knife Grinder is wondrously natural and lifelike, and, looking at his upturned face and outstretched arms, you may almost hear the play of the blade as, with clever touch, he sharpens it upon the grindstone.